Categories: News

Robotaxis wreak havoc in major US city

Ten cruise taxis stopped in the middle of the tracks due to a connection problem and blocked all traffic.

In the United States, several companies have obtained authorizations to circulate certain fully autonomous models via robotaxis services.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before the experience turned into a bit of chaos.

An already complicated first day

Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorized Alphabet and its Waymo service and General Motors and its Cruise service to offer paying trips aboard their robotaxis in San Francisco, 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately, the day after these famous fleets of autonomous taxis were set up, an incident involving ten robotaxis (based on Chevrolet Bolts) gave some additional ammunition to skeptics of this technology.

Indeed, on Friday August 11, no less than 10 autonomous robotaxis ended up stopping at North Beach in San Francisco, causing total disruption of traffic. Several social media posts showed several robotaxis stopped in the middle of Grant Avenue with their hazard lights on for no apparent reason. The incident lasted about 20 minutes.

Connection problems for robotaxis

Cruise, the company in charge of this service, replied to one of the messages stating that the problem was caused by “Wireless connectivity issues”, which immobilized the vehicle. And obviously, this taxi being driverless, it took a little longer than expected to fix the problem.

“A major festival posed bandwidth constraints, which delayed our vehicle connectivity. We are actively researching and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again. We apologize to those affected.”can we read on X (formerly Twitter).

San Francisco police confirmed the connectivity issues were caused by the large number of people at the Outside Lands music festival. The network having been saturated, the cars were no longer connected and could no longer operate independently in their environment.

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