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Cruise robotaxis blocked a highway in San Francisco after storm

General Motors‘ self-driving car unit Cruise acknowledged that a few of its automobiles stalled out on metropolis streets in San Francisco following rainstorms that downed bushes there on Tuesday night time.

A witness to the Cruise robotaxi failures, John-Phillip Bettencourt, shared photographs of the stalled autos on Twitter.

He advised CNBC that round 1:45 p.m. on March 22, a big tree on the nook of Jones and Clay streets fell onto strains that energy town’s buses, “pulling them down.” After that, one other tree on Polk and Clay streets fell into the road. In response, he mentioned, the San Francisco Fireplace Division had blocked off Clay between Polk and Jones streets with warning tape.

By 9:45 p.m. Bettencourt noticed and took photographs of the 2 self-driving Cruise autos halted within the face of those uncommon obstacles. He mentioned the driverless Cruise autos didn’t seem to detect and keep away from the warning tape and bus wires correctly, and as an alternative grew to become “tangled in them.”

Bettencourt advised CNBC by way of message, “The primary automotive was just a little within the path of the cross-street (about half method). Leavenworth & Clay are the cross streets. The second automotive was not blocking something as a result of behind it was all blocked off (to automobiles apart from robocars evidently) I feel the know-how may be very attention-grabbing. I imply it is the stuff folks my age solely talked about after we had been children.”

After Bettencourt shared his photographs on Twitter, the official Cruise account replied: “Given the harm attributable to final night time’s storms, a few of our automobiles briefly entered areas with downed bushes or energy strains. Some had been capable of proceed autonomously, however the place wanted we instantly dispatched groups to take away the autos.”

CNBC reached out to Cruise looking for additional particulars together with about what number of of its robotaxis failed throughout or following the rainstorm in San Francisco on Tuesday, whether or not any accidents or property harm occurred in consequence, and the way rapidly the corporate was capable of take away any stalled autos manually from roadways.

Earlier this week, Cruise filed an utility with the California Division of Motor Automobiles to check its robotaxis statewide, not simply in San Francisco the place it has been testing for greater than two years.

A California DMV spokesperson advised CNBC, “The DMV is conscious of this incident and is in touch with Cruise LLC to higher perceive the circumstances. When making use of for a deployment or driverless testing allow from the DMV, firms should establish their supposed operational design area, together with the geographical space and specified situations underneath which the car could function autonomously. Cruise has permits to check and deploy autonomous autos in San Francisco all hours of day and night time, excluding heavy rain.”

Cruise is one among simply three firms licensed to commercially function their autonomous autos on San Francisco metropolis streets, alongside Alphabet-owned Waymo and startup Nuro.

Others are licensed to conduct autonomous car testing in California with no human driver within the automotive, together with Amazon-owned Zoox and Chinese language startup WeRide, based on the DMV website

Bettencourt emphasised on social media and in messages to CNBC that he wasn’t attempting to insult Cruise or be overly crucial about Cruise. He took and shared photographs of their automobiles halted on the streets of Nob Hill as a result of he noticed “one thing loopy that occurred on my road on a loopy night time,” he mentioned.

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