Several cruise self-driving cars stopped working on a street in San Francisco, California, USA, causing a traffic jam. On the night of 28th, the public road was blocked for several hours. Photos and accounts of the incident were shared on Reddit and gained notoriety in the American press.
The company tried to fix the problem remotely, but the problem was only resolved when Cruise employees went to the scene and removed the robot taxis the old-fashioned way — driving them manually.
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A fleet of Cruze’s self-driving cars blocked a street in the US for hours – Photo: Reproduction / Reddit
From images shared on Twitter, at least seven cars can be seen parked at the intersection of Goff and Fulton streets. One Reddit user said that the truck that swept the streets couldn’t clear an entire block due to roadblocks.
The fine for stopping a street sweeper in San Francisco is about $76 per car. Considering the number of damaged vehicles, the fine can be as high as US$ 532 (approximately R$ 2,820).
Searched by website TechCrunchThe municipal transit authority has not said how it is handling the situation with self-driving cars, or whether the cruisers will be fined for blocking the intersection.
“We had an issue earlier this week that caused some of our vehicles to be jammed together. The issue has been resolved and no passengers were harmed, and we apologize for the inconvenience,” a Cruise spokesperson said of the incident.
The episode comes less than a week after Cruise launched its driverless taxi service in San Francisco. With this feat achieved on June 24, the company has consolidated itself as the first company in the US to offer fee-based rides in robotic cars to the general public in a major city.
Cruise is the first company to have driverless robot taxis operating with passengers in major US cities.
Although robot cars are relatively new, they have had no shortage of accidents. During the Tokyo Paralympics, a Toyota autonomous vehicle ran over a blind athlete, who suffered head and leg injuries. Uber and Tesla cars have already been involved in pedestrian collisions that have resulted in fatalities.
Cruz’s event reignites debates about the potential of self-driving cars and the regulation of the services they provide. In addition to requiring companies to adapt their policies to address these issues, the law should provide what penalties apply if unmanned vehicles cause accidents.
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