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Cruise’s Self-Driving Taxi Program Is Off to a Terrible Start

Cruise self-driving taxi service

Earlier this week, a bunch of Cruise self-driving robotaxis stopped working simultaneously in the middle of the road, causing a major traffic jam on the streets of San Francisco. 

These vehicles are autonomous, with no humans inside in case anything goes wrong, and that’s exactly what happened. According to TechCrunch, images of the situation quickly appeared all over Twitter and Reddit, with users quick to make jokes about robots coming to take over the human resistance.

Cruise is an autonomous taxi service operating in California and received funding from both General Motors and Honda. The company has tested its technology in San Francisco for more than a year and finally launched its 100% autonomous taxi service to the public in early June. Unfortunately, the service isn’t off to the best start.

Several Cruise self-driving taxis decided to group together, put on the brakes, and completely stop moving. While it’s hard to tell from the photos, it looks like upwards of 10+ vehicles stopped on two different streets next to an intersection.

As a result, Cruise employees had to be dispatched to handle the situation and retrieve the uncooperative vehicles. One user on Reddit said, “I think a group of autonomous vehicles should be called a “collective,” as in resistance is futile,” while laughing about the situation. And while it’s somewhat funny, the fact that self-driving cars caused a massive traffic jam for several hours in a busy city is no laughing matter.

A spokesperson for Cruise gave a statement to TechCrunch, which sounds like something out of the movie iRobot, yet had no information to share regarding why it happened, only that it did indeed happen.

“We had an issue earlier this week that caused some of our vehicles to cluster together. While it was resolved and no passengers were impacted, we apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced.”

These self-driving autonomous vehicles randomly clustered together and stopped moving. It’s worth noting that Cruise vehicles can only drive on “select streets” in San Fran from 10 PM to 6 AM, at speeds no more than 30mph. As we can see, the company still has a few kinks to iron out.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first incident we’ve seen from self-driving cars. Waymo operates on the streets of San Francisco as well. Earlier this year, one of its vehicles randomly stopped, caused a traffic jam, then went on the run for a few minutes before eventually coming to a stop.

Being able to hail a driverless taxi as easy as ordering an Uber certainly sounds exciting, but it’s clear the technology still has a way to go.

via The Verge

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »