A robotaxi takeover of the Golden City — while seemingly imminent — may take a while longer to roll out.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) recently wrote two letters to the California Public Utilities Commission voicing concerns over the rapid expansion of Waymo and Cruise in the city.
The Alphabet and GM autonomous vehicle subsidiaries are currently allowed to offer driverless rides in the city. Cruise is permitted to charge for these rides between 10pm and 6am, and Waymo is awaiting similar approval.
Why the concern?
Consider these examples, gathered by The Verge:
- Last July, driverless Cruise cars blocked traffic for hours. In September, it happened again. Earlier this month, firefighters had to break into one to prevent it from taking out an active hose.
- In January, a driverless Waymo vehicle got stuck at a busy intersection. The traffic did not look fun.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also currently investigating Cruise over traffic blocking and rear-ending concerns.
For what it’s worth, the city seems generally supportive of the technology. “A series of limited deployments with incremental expansions — rather than unlimited authorizations — offer the best path toward public confidence in driving automation and industry success in San Francisco and beyond,” SFCTA wrote.
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