Self-driving cars from the sister firm of Google Waymo have started blocking a usually quiet cul-de-sac in San Francisco, presumably because of the uncertainty over traffic controls.
Every day several white tool-laden vehicles which Waymo is sending out to study driving designs in the town have been getting into 15th Avenue, a dead-end lane. This is where they’re required to carry out multi-point turns and leave the way they came as shared by KPIX, a regional news station.
Jennifer King, a resident stated that she first learnt about the cars from the unique tone of their foot-traveller warning system (PWS).
“I noticed it while I was sleeping,” King told the station. “I awoke to a strange hum and I thought there was a spacecraft outside my bedroom window.”
Also, King stated that there could be up to fifty of the vehicles getting into and exiting the lane every day, and KPIX saw dozens of the cars lining up in the lane as they set to return and exit again.
“It’s literally every five minutes. And we’re all working from home, so this is what we hear,” King said.
Further, she stated that residents had challenged the vehicles’ human safety operators who mentioned that the vehicle is programmed and they’re only carrying out their duty.
Resident Andrea Lewin mentioned that vehicles had been coming and operating for 6 or 8 weeks.
According to Waymo, the issue emerged from its vehicle abiding by the Slow Street” programme of San Francisco. The programme is meant to lessen traffic on Lake Street that passes over 15th Avenue merely ere it dead-ends into the Presidio park north of California St.
This implies that when the vehicles are moving north on 15th north of California, they’re not able to turn onto Lake and are made to turn around.
“We continually adjust to dynamic San Francisco road rules. In this case, cars traveling North of California on 15th Ave have to take a U-turn due to the presence of Slow Streets signage on Lake. So, the Waymo Driver was obeying the same road rules that any car is required to follow,” the company stated in a statement.
Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, whose vehicles also utilize self-driving technology, reacted to the report with a one-word post on Twitter: “Haha”.
Waymo is owned by Google parent Alphabet and it started experimenting its self-driving taxi cars in San Francisco earlier this year, including backup people drivers on the wheel.
The firm has been providing automated cab trips in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, since October 2020.