California Kicks Off Legal Driverless Taxis in San Francisco Pilot Program
Some San Francisco residents are worried about the decision recently to allow driverless taxis on the city’s streets, while others are excited about the possibility of getting around without worrying about impaired drivers or drivers who will make passes at their teenage daughters. Public reaction has been intense on both sides, according to a story on newyorker.com.
California is pushing the envelope now that 40 companies, including Apple and Amazon, have received permits from the California D.M.V. to test autonomous vehicles in the state. In San Francisco, Autonomous Vehicles, or AVs were legalized as taxis. The New Yorker writer Anna Weiner explains:
“Depending on how things go, expansion in San Francisco could be the first step toward expansion across the state, or even the country, not only for Cruise and Waymo but for other companies. Alternatively, the rollout of driverless taxis in San Francisco could be remembered as a tragic episode in the story of technology.”
Cruise and Waymo are the main companies plying the taxi trade in the hilly city, with about 500 driverless vehicles available. Already, people have reported problems when more than one AV shows up in a neighborhood.
“The delays, a spokesperson later explained on X, were caused by a wireless-connectivity issue, created by Outside Lands, a large music festival that was happening on the other side of the city. After fifteen minutes, the cars re-started. (The San Francisco Examiner later reported that the jam was actually caused by a pedestrian who intentionally interfered with one of Cruise’s robo-taxis.)”
A Cruise car with a passenger in it crashed into a fire truck, prompting the California D.M.V. to force the company to cut their AV fleet in half—50 during the day and 150 at night. Depending on how things go, other AVs might experience the same fate.
read more at newyorker.com