SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — KRON4 reported last week and all weekend on the Pride road closures, but some Waymo cars didn’t get the memo. Multiple incidents were reported where a barricade would be up in the road along the parade route and a Waymo self-driving car would stall out—not knowing what to do.
A picture from SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin shows a Waymo car Peskin said blocked traffic and a Muni bus for several minutes on Columbus Ave. The supervisor said he’s hearing about self-driving car issues happening more frequently.
“Cruise primarily, and Waymo secondarily have consistently refused to share data with the city,” Peskin said. “We learn more from social media and our experiences on the street than they are willing to share with us.”
San Francisco Fire Department Assistant Deputy Chief Darius Luttropp said so far this year, a self-driving car, like Waymo or Cruise, has impeded an emergency vehicle’s ability to respond to a scene 66 times.
“We’ve had a number of incidents where they continue to drive as they enter fire scenes and other emergency scenes where fire officers are trying pretty desperately to get the attention of the car and try to make it stop and that concerns us also,” said Luttropp.
In his opinion, the vehicles are not ready for full commercial use even though they’ve already started taking a limited amount of pre-approved riders.
Guidehouse Insights Transportation Analyst, Sam Abuelsamid said self-driving cars have the ability to replace human drivers, but AI systems are not there yet.
“They’re processing a lot of data, they can process it really fast, but they don’t really have the same kind of understanding of what they’re processing the way humans do and what we’re processing,” said Abuelsamid.
The California Public Utilities Commission was supposed to consider a proposal this week to allow an unlimited number of self-driving cars to operate in San Francisco at all hours of the day. Supervisor Peskin said the commission pushed back their hearing until July 13 after receiving several complaints from city leaders.