Self-driving cars were once fodder for movies and television shows that depict a future where motorists merely need to push a button to get to their respective designations. Fast forward to today and the fantasy has become reality. However, with that comes the possibility of glitches and more serious problems.
The introduction of self-driving robotaxis have resulted in increased motor vehicle accidents in over the past few months. Cruise and Waymo, providers of these transports still wonder why their vehicles have not been embraced and universally accepted.
A rough rollout
Since their launch in San Francisco, the self-driving taxis provided by Cruise and Waymo have been plagued with numerous safety issues. Enough complaints got the attention of city officials who requested that Cruise reduce the number of cars traveling streets until they go through the technology and identify specific problems.
The San Francisco Chronicle released data from March showing that the self-driving car accidents grew 300 percent over the previous month. Critics claim that data is, at best, incomplete and coming from 911/311 calls, transit cameras, and less than reliable social media posts.
The city’s fire department entered the fray as well, noting data that revealed 44 robotaxis interfering with firefighters. Accounts include vehicles traveling into active scenes, outright running over fire hoses, and slowing down fire trucks trying to get their respective designations to provide help.
All of this is occurring in the shadow of the state’s Public Utilities commission delaying more permits for robotaxis, forcing company officials and venture capitalists to turn up the volume on their support for additional self-driving cars on streets throughout San Franciso.