San Francisco is one of the hotbeds of autonomous driving. However, the city authorities are already trying to scale down the expansion of the technology after multiple incidents in which driverless cars stopped in the middle of the road for no apparent reason and caused a snarl in traffic, and interfered with firefighting activities, according to NBC.
The officials have sent letters to California regulators asking them to curb or scale back Cruise’s and Waymo’s road testing activities. The two companies are jostling for who would offer 24-hour robotaxi service first in the state. In one incident firefighters had to smash the windshield of a Cruise autonomous vehicle to prevent it from driving over their hoses during an active fire incident. If the car had driven over the hoses it could have led to serious injury to the firefighters.
Cruise and Waymo would be anxious to see how the proposed restrictions work out, as it could have ripple effects on their operations in other cities worldwide. However, autonomous driving tech has been hailed as a possible solution to about 40,000 Americans dying yearly in traffic.
Cruise, owned majorly by GM, got permission to offer driverless rides in San Francisco between 10 pm and 6 am. It has also been permitted to test driverless rides at any time of the day but has yet to be allowed to offer them to passengers 24 hours a day.
Cruise’s autonomous cars have been reported to pause at a traffic light and require a technician to drive away manually. NHTSA opened an investigation into the incident.
Waymo offers driverless rides in Los Angeles and Phoenix.