Can self-driving cars really drive better than humans? The performance of the Cruise team in San Francisco this week could smack such claims from auto and tech executives.
CNBC reported on Friday (1st) that General Motors (GM-US) confirmed that “there were some problems with its self-driving business Cruise earlier this week that caused some vehicles to gather together, but the problem has now been resolved and no passengers have been affected. “The spokesman declined to provide further details.
Netizens shared multiple photos on Reddit and Twitter, depicting GM Cruise self-driving taxis blocking multiple lanes in San Francisco. Late Tuesday night, at least seven Cruise vehicles gathered at the intersection of Gough and Fulton streets near San Francisco’s Civic Center, blocking traffic for at least two hours until Cruise employees arrived at the scene to remove them.
Cruise, the first fleet to offer driverless rides to the public in big cities, has been on trial since February, but only started charging last week when the mass shutdown occurred. Cruise fleets operate after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m. and only on designated streets in San Francisco.
The auto and tech industries have been chasing driverless technology for years as the next multi-trillion-dollar market, leading to a consolidation of driverless vehicles. But the event shows how difficult it is to develop and deploy self-driving fleets, and the commercialization of self-driving cars is more challenging than many expected.
Similar problems have been reported collectively in self-driving cars from Alphabet (GOOGL-US)-backed self-driving company Waymo. Located in San Francisco, KPIX-TV, a station owned by CBS, reported in October last year that Waymo vehicles were parked in a cul-de-sac.