Self-Driving Cars Are ‘Perplexed’ Continue along a quiet dead-end SF street.
As confused self-driving Waymo cabs owned by Alphabet Inc wind up in a dead-end street, a calm San Francisco neighborhood is experiencing an unexpected uptick in traffic.
Several Waymo robotaxi passengers apparently ended up at a dead end in the city’s Richmond District and were forced to turn the cars around themselves, spoiling their experience. Neighbors complain that the long queues of cars are becoming a nuisance.
“It can go up to 50 degrees on some days,” Jennifer King, a local, told KPIX. “It happens every five minutes or so. This is what we hear because we’re all working from home.” The cars, according to King, keep coming all day long, one after the other. There are occasional breaks here and there, but it never truly stops.
This has been going on for weeks, according to another neighbor, Andrea Lewin. “It’s been going on for at least six, eight weeks,” Lewin added.
Waymo makes use of “lidar” sensors, which generate a picture of the vehicle’s surroundings. When the sensor detects anything like a dead end, it tells the car to come to a complete stop.
It’s unknown whether the automobiles are being drawn to the dead-end by a sensor malfunction or another flaw in the automated system.
“We’ve talked to the drivers,” King added, “and they don’t have much to say other than the car is programmed and they’re simply doing their job.”
Waymo told the outlet that company is investigating the situation.
This isn’t the first time the Waymo cars have encountered difficulties. Waymo cars do not currently use shared lanes, according to a CNN story, making trips longer than an Uber or Lyft ride. As a result, instead of making a left turn, the automated cars sometimes take longer roundabout paths.
Puddles on the road also cause Waymo cars to become confused. At that moment, a human test driver is required to assume control of the vehicle.
Waymo has developed a strong customer base that prefers the robotaxi service to Uber or Lyft services, or even owning a car.
In August, Waymo launched its self-driving services in San Francisco, encouraging users to use and test its cars through its “Trusted Tester” program.