Driverless Taxi's Face Pushback

San Francisco has become a hub for driverless taxis as companies such as GM’s Cruise and Amazon-owned Zoox are both based there. While driverless vehicles were a welcomed idea not long ago, the continued failure to create an effective and safe driverless vehicle has quickly caused the San Francisco public to turn on robotaxis.

Many engineers have stated that they prefer testing their vehicles in the chaotic streets of San Francisco as the hectic streets allow for the algorithm to learn at a faster rate. However, the algorithm may not be learning fast enough as numerous vehicles appear to be stalling at inopportune moments as the driverless taxis will randomly stop in the middle of intersections or pull off to the side of the road further clogging traffic. One vehicle managed to get itself stuck in wet concrete. The frustrations do not solely reside with the general public as the San- Francisco Fire Department announced robotaxis have hindered the department’s ability to provide its services 55 times in just the past week.

Continual displeasure with robotaxis has caused citizens to begin fighting back as a group known as the Safe Street Rebels have begun “coning” the driverless taxis in which an orange traffic cone is placed on the hood of one of these vehicles causing it to essentially crash and become rendered useless. The phenomenon was filmed and shared on social media causing numerous citizens to follow suit and “cone” any robotaxi in sight.

The growing animosity towards robotaxis has spread itself into local government as the vote to approve expansion was twice delayed this summer until permits were eventually granted on August 10.

Source: Financial Times