San Francisco’s North Beach streets clogged as a long line of Cruise robotaxis come to a standstill – Los Angeles Times

Chi è causa del suo mal…

Source: LA Times

One day after California green-lighted a massive expansion of driverless robotaxis in San Francisco, the implications became clear.

At about 11 p.m. Friday, as many as 10 Cruise driverless taxis blocked two narrow streets in the center of the city’s lively North Beach bar and restaurant district. All traffic came to a standstill on Vallejo Street and around two corners on Grant. Human-driven cars sat stuck behind and in between the robotaxis, which might as well have been boulders: no one knew how to move them.

The situation is loaded with irony, as the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday voted 3 to 1 amid great public controversy to allow a massive robotaxi expansion. The vote allows General Motors-owned Cruise and Waymo, owned by Google’s Alphabet, to charge fares for driverless service and grow the fleet as large as they’d like. Cruise has said it plans eventually to deploy thousands of robotaxis in San Francisco.

City officials in San Francisco, from the mayor’s office down, have been fighting the move, with officials saying the robotaxi industry needs to fix problems that endanger the public first before further expanding the business. The city’sFire Department has logged more than 55 cases of robotaxis interfering with first responders. Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson has repeatedly said Cruise and Waymo are getting in firefighters’ way and their technology is “not ready for prime time.”

The CPUC decided to go ahead anyway. One of the three yes votes was cast by Commissioner John Reynolds, who served as head lawyer at Cruise before appointed to the CPUC by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Peskin said city officials are pursuing “every means” to have the CPUC decision reversed, and are discussing whether to seek a court injunction. Another option: fining Cruise and Waymo thousands of dollars for each robotaxi road blockage.

“If you’re looking for an example of regulatory capture, you’re seeing it now,” Peskin said. “It’s unethical and immoral but legal,” he said.

Continua qui: San Francisco’s North Beach streets clogged as a long line of Cruise robotaxis come to a standstill – Los Angeles Times

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