Of Course, More Cruise Cars Piled Up on a San Francisco Street

The reason for the ten-car jam? Apparently, increased cell phone use during Outside Lands… which reads very sus.

San Francisco’s state as a seven-by-seven-mile wired cage for guinea pig technology continues on in a dangerous, despicable fashion. Of the self-touted new-age technologies oscillating around SF, autonomous driving technologies are perhaps the most contentious of the herd.

And just before the weekend on Friday night, ten Cruise vehicles randomly piled up in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood — literally a day after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) agreed to permit autonomous vehicle (AV) companies to expand driverless vehicle programs in San Francisco. Not only is SF getting more robotaxis on its roads… but they’re now allowed to operate around the clock.

According to KRON4, the involved cars stopped — or “bricked,” as it’s being called in regards to AVs that suddenly halt for no reason — because of “wireless connectivity issues,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement.  The said “connectivity issue”? It was apparently linked to the Outside Lands music festival… which was being held over four miles away in Golden Gate Park. 

Moreover: If a higher-than-normal amount of twentysomethings and thirtysomethings in a city of less than a million residents can cause such an issue, imagine what the ramifications could be if these cars were, say, deployed in a city of millions? (Picture the navigational chaos Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour could’ve caused in New York City if this same scenario was extrapolated thousands of miles away?)

“We are actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again and apologize to those impacted,” Cruise added.

Shortly after CPUC bestowed its edict, both District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the San Franciso Fire Department criticized the decision, with Peskin questioning why “state commissioners think it’s OK to put people in danger [and create traffic chaos on the streets of our neighborhood” and the City fire department says that the “ruling ignores public safety and emergency response interference that we presented to the Commission this week.”

Yes, the future of transporting does have an autonomous component to it; there’s no denying that; we’re too far down the rabbit hole at this point. But to thwart public safety concerns — issues presented by the public, itself — seems not only dangerous but dystopian. It connotes favoritism toward profit, as opposed to public opinion. And that’s a hellacious vision not even the most bombastic Beyoncé concert could offer temporary escapism from.

Feature image: Courtesy of Safe Street Rebel

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