Cruise robotaxis block visitors for hours in San Francisco


A bunch of Cruise autonomous automobiles blocked visitors Tuesday night time in San Francisco. The visitors jam, which a witness estimated concerned greater than a dozen of the robotaxis, was not resolved till human operators eliminated the automobiles.

Drew Pusateri, a spokesperson for Cruise, acknowledged the occasion in a written assertion to Automotive Information.

“We had a problem earlier this week that triggered a few of our automobiles to cluster collectively,” he mentioned. “Whereas it was resolved and no passengers have been impacted, we apologize to anybody who was inconvenienced.”

Pusateri wouldn’t elaborate on the trigger except for it being a “technical difficulty.”

The incident occurred on the intersection of Gough and Fulton Streets and was first publicized in a Reddit post on r/sanfrancisco.

Cruise, an autonomous-vehicle firm majority-owned by General Motors, commercially launched its self-driving taxi service in restricted areas of San Francisco between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. simply final week.

This was not the primary incident of a Cruise automobile blocking visitors. In Might, a take a look at automobile blocked a San Francisco fire truck from responding to an emergency. It was considered one of quite a few incidents involving the Cruise fleet registered by San Francisco officers.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Company has repeatedly raised issues over the reliability and security of the Cruise autonomous fleet. A letter despatched to the California Public Utilities Fee by the company in November claimed the corporate’s robotaxis have been “not presently designed to adjust to state and native visitors rules.” Cruise responded with its personal letter, refuting the company’s claims, in December.

The fee finally granted the allow permitting Cruise’s industrial launch on June 23.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Company didn’t reply to requests for touch upon the most recent incidents, which might elevate extra widespread questions on AV operations within the metropolis and past.

Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst for Guidehouse Insights, mentioned the Tuesday night time visitors jam might spur extra unfavourable sentiment towards autonomous automobiles.

“It is the case with something new, any new expertise,” Abuelsamid mentioned. “If folks begin to see issues with it, then they’ll distrust it.”

He believes extra transparency is the important thing to proving to shoppers that AVs are secure.

“There must be extra transparency,” Abuelsamid mentioned. “There must be extra transparency about how they’re growing these things, and the way they’re validating it and proving that it’s secure and dependable.”

Though Cruise is first to launch industrial operations within the metropolis, it has been a hotbed of autonomous testing. Rival Waymo has agency plans to launch in San Francisco and has established a “Trusted Tester” program there. Zoox additionally eyes San Francisco as a foundational market.

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