Driverless taxis are yet again the subject of a traffic mishap, and this time it’s Waymo’s turn to make headlines.
The Alphabet-owned company (which also owns Google), has a fleet of all-electric self-driving Jaguar I-Pace crossovers roaming the streets of San Francisco, much like its main competitor, GM’s Cruise.
And early Tuesday morning, no less than five of Waymo’s robotaxis blocked traffic on a residential street in the city’s Balboa Terrace neighborhood, apparently baffled by thick fog that covered the southwestern part of San Francisco.
Four of the vehicles simply stopped on the first lane, while a fifth Jaguar I-Pace decided to take a break on the center lane, which understandably made morning commuters quite unhappy, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Bystanders say that the driverless EVs started moving again after the fog cleared, which took several minutes.
Waymo’s spokesperson, Chris Bonelli, responded by saying that the company is planning to roll out software updates to “improve our fog and parking performance to address such situations in the future.”
With all this being said, it looks like the municipality doesn’t have direct access to “systemic data” when trying to compile reports of road disturbances by autonomous vehicles.
“No regulatory agency currently requires reporting of data about incidents where driverless AVs have obstructed traffic or created safety hazards,” San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Stephen Chun said. “We have asked state and federal regulators to collect data so that we can measure the positive and negative effects of AV driving on our streets before they are given permission to expand their operations into peak travel hours when people most need to travel, and when our economy and society depend on people’s ability to travel.”
Waymo’s vehicles usually have a backup driver inside to take over when things don’t go according to plan, but back in December of 2022, the Alphabet-owned brand applied for a permit that would allow it to sell fully autonomous rides in San Francisco, much like Cruise.
As always, we’d like to know what you think about this, so head over to the comments section below and give us your thoughts.