Congrats! San Francisco’s Robotaxi Chaos May Be Coming to a City Near You

Cruise Robotaxi

Self-driving taxis are now operational in three American cities, and are undergoing testing in more than 12 others, per a report in Axios. Meanwhile, the traffic chaos robotaxis cause in San Francisco continues to mount.

Robotaxis are currently available in Austin, Phoenix, and San Francisco, with riders able to hail driverless cars in those cities.

Meanwhile, robotaxi testing is occurring in: Las Vegas, Seattle, San Diego, Miami, Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Driverless taxis are reportedly closest to service in Dallas and Houston.

The rollout is driven by Waymo, a Google-owned entity, and Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors. Hyundai is also looking to enter the market with its Motional subsidiary.

Via Axios:

Driving the news: After investing tens of billions of dollars in research and development, robotaxi companies Cruise and Waymo are now shifting their focus to commercialization.

  • The goal is to scale rapidly by deploying robotaxi fleets across multiple cities in fast succession.
  • They believe that’s the best way to turn what’s been an expensive science project into a profitable business.
  • Motional, co-owned by Hyundai, also has big expansion plans, but is taking a more measured approach, starting with Las Vegas later this year.

“We’re on a trajectory that most businesses dream of, which is exponential growth,” Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt told GM shareholders earlier this summer.

Developing the autonomous driving technology has been an extremely expensive undertaking, with Cruise losing $561 million in the first quarter of 2023. Nevertheless, the company says it is on track for $1 billion in revenue by 2025 and $50 billion by 2030, per a report in the Verge.

Cruise, Waymo, and other companies looking to conquer the self-driving fear also have a challenge to overcome: public opinion.

A survey carried out by AAA earlier this year found that an overwhelming number of respondents — 68 percent — said they were “afraid” of self-driving tech, with just 9 percent saying they trusted autonomous vehicles.

That represents a worsening picture for the industry, as the 68 percent figure was a 13-point increase on the AAA’s previous survey, conducted the year before.

The negative public opinion is driven in part by the robotaxis’ performance in San Francisco. From getting stuck in wet cement to causing traffic jams by mysteriously stopping in the middle of the road, robotaxis have left a negative impression on many.

In one incident earlier this year, a robotaxi hampered the efforts of firefighters, almost driving over a firehose while it was in use.

Breitbart News reported:

According to a report from Mission Local, a Waymo-operated robotaxi stumbled upon the scene of an explosion-related fire and refused to move out of the way. Police officers can be seen using a variety of tactics to stop the electric car from running over a fire hose in body camera footage. “It doesn’t know what to do!” one officer shouted at the scene.

A policeman lit a flare in an effort to stop the car, hoping that the smoke would prevent the taxi from crossing the water line. Officers attempted to stop the taxi, but it kept moving forward, so they asked Waymo for assistance. One of the officers said to the dispatcher, “Got a bit of a pickle. I got an autonomous vehicle, the Waymo, it’s inching slowly and closely to one of the main water lines that the SF Fire just charged. Can’t run it over,” he says. “I don’t trust this AI.”

Breitbart News will continue to report on self-driving vehicles.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @AllumBokhari


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