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Cruise's Robot Car Outages Are Jamming Up San Francisco


The outages come at a vital time for Cruise, which is accelerating its autonomous vehicle program on the tricky streets of San Francisco as it competes with well-capitalized rivals like Google’s sister company Waymo, Aurora, and Zoox, which is owned

Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Around midnight on June 28, Calvin Hu was driving with his girlfriend near San Francisco's Golden Gate Park when he pulled up at an intersection behind two white and orange autonomous Chevrolet Bolts operated by Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors. Another was stopped to his right in the adjacent lane. The light turned green but the cars, which operate in the city without drivers, didn't move.

When Hu prepared to reverse and go around the frozen vehicles, he says, he noticed that several more Cruise vehicles had stopped in the lanes behind him. Hu, another driver, and a paratransit bus were trapped in a robotaxi sandwich.

After a few minutes of bemused waiting, Hu says, he resorted to driving over the curbs of the street's median to escape. When he returned on foot a few minutes later to see whether the situation had resolved, the Cruise vehicles hadn't budged. A person who appeared to work for the company had parked in the intersection, Hu says, as if to indicate the street was closed, and was trying to direct traffic away from the immobile self-driving cars. Hu estimates that the robot car blockade, which has not previously been reported, lasted at least 15 minutes.

From Wired
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