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Cruising robotaxis blocked a road in San Francisco after the storm

General EnginesSelf-driving vehicle unit Cruise has acknowledged that some of its cars stalled on city streets in San Francisco following thunderstorms that knocked down trees there on Tuesday night.

A witness to the failures of the Cruise robotaxi, John-Phillip Bettencourt, shared photos of the broken down vehicles on Twitter.

He told CNBC that around 1:45 p.m. on March 22, a large tree at the corner of Jones and Clay streets fell on the lines that feed city buses, “pulling them down.” After that, another tree on Polk and Clay streets fell down the street. In response, he said, the San Francisco Fire Department blocked off Clay between Polk and Jones streets with duct tape.

At 9:45 p.m., Bettencourt saw and photographed the two autonomous Cruisers stopped in front of these unusual obstacles. He said the driverless cruisers didn’t seem to properly detect and avoid warning tape and bus wires, and instead “got tangled up in them”.

Bettencourt told CNBC via message: “The first car was a bit in the way of the cross street (about half way). Leavenworth and Clay are the cross streets. The second car wasn’t blocking anything because behind everything was blocked (to cars other than robocars obviously) I think the technology is very interesting I mean, these are the things that people my age only talked about when we were kids.

After Bettencourt shared her photos on Twitter, Cruise’s official account replied, “Given last night’s storm damage, some of our cars briefly entered areas with downed trees or power lines. Some were able to proceed on their own, but if necessary, we immediately dispatched teams to remove the vehicles.

CNBC reached out to Cruise for more details, including how many of its robotaxis broke down during or after the rainstorm in San Francisco on Tuesday, whether any injuries or property damage resulted, and how quickly the company recovered. able to remove all blocked vehicles. manually from the road.

Earlier this week, Cruise filed an application with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test his robotaxis statewide, not just in San Francisco where he’s been testing for more than two years.

A California DMV spokesperson told CNBC: “The DMV is aware of this incident and is in contact with Cruise LLC to better understand the circumstances. When applying for a deployment or permit to test without driver with the DMV, companies must identify their intended operational design area, including the geographic area and specified conditions in which the vehicle can operate autonomously.Cruise has permits to test and deploy autonomous vehicles in San Francisco to any time of the day or night, with the exception of heavy rain.

Cruise is one of only three companies licensed to commercially operate their self-driving vehicles on San Francisco city streets, alongside Alphabet-property of Waymo and the startup Nuro.

Others are allowed to perform autonomous vehicle testing in California without a human driver in the car, including Amazon– owned by Zoox and Chinese startup WeRide, according to the DMV website.

Bettencourt emphasized on social media and in messages to CNBC that he was not trying to insult Cruise or be overly critical of Cruise. He took and shared pictures of their cars stopped on the streets of Nob Hill because he saw “something crazy that happened on my street on a crazy night”, he said.


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