Cruise robotaxis blocked a road in San Francisco after storm

Cruise robotaxis caught in area trees and powerlines during storm in San Francisco

General Motors Cruise robotaxi service faced mounting pressure in the Bay Area as its driverless vehicles continue to drive. These vehicles are finding their way during bad situations. The city government called to improve GM’s robotaxi services as many of them stopped for no reason. Apparently, they were also seen stopped at intersections.

Cruise robotaxis blocked a road in San Francisco after storm
Image credits- CNBC

The two Cruise robotaxis have become embroiled in yet another dispute after they inadvertently entered sections of the road that were obstructed due to fallen trees and power lines. The robotaxis, now immobilized, was initially identified by a Twitter user named John-Phillip, who shared an image of the tangled vehicles ensnared in warning tape meant to bar entry to all automobiles. In response to the incident, the company has confirmed that they dispatched a team to disentangle the robotaxis. The vehicles have since been restored to full functionality.

In addition to facing scrutiny from local authorities, Cruise has also drawn the attention of the federal government, particularly the NHTSA, due to a range of problems affecting its self-driving system. However, as of now, no information has been released regarding the outcome of the investigation. These controversies arise at a crucial juncture in the implementation of autonomous taxis in the US, with numerous municipalities expressing concern that they may jeopardize the safety of residents and create traffic issues, thereby undermining the driving experience for other motorists. Moreover, a significant portion of the American population remains uncertain about the technology, while others remain unaware of its current availability.

Driverless testing permit

Earlier this week, Cruise filed an application with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test its robotaxis statewide, not just in San Francisco where it has been testing for more than two years. A California DMV spokesperson told CNBC, “The DMV is aware of this incident and is in contact with Cruise LLC to better understand the circumstances. When applying for a deployment or driverless testing permit from the DMV, companies must identify their intended operational design domain, including the geographical area and specified conditions under which the vehicle may operate autonomously. Cruise has permits to test and deploy autonomous vehicles in San Francisco all hours of day and night, excluding heavy rain.”

Cruise is one of just three companies authorized to commercially operate their autonomous vehicles on San Francisco city streets, alongside Alphabet-owned Waymo and startup Nuro. Others are authorized to conduct autonomous vehicle testing in California with no human driver in the car, including Amazon-owned Zoox and Chinese startup WeRide, according to the DMV website.