HomeTechnologyStuck on the Streets of San Francisco in a Driverless Car

Stuck on the Streets of San Francisco in a Driverless Car

When it approached a building zone marked off with orange cones and a large yellow arrow, it easily navigated round it, ready for one more automobile to cross on the proper earlier than continuing. It snaked round a truck illegally parked at a pointy angle in opposition to the curb. And it stopped greater than as soon as for pedestrians who appeared as if they had been about to cross the road, though this usually got here with a jolt to the passengers within the again seat. It additionally had a behavior of slowing in the midst of an empty block for no obvious purpose. Possibly it noticed one thing that I didn’t — repeatedly.

Then, on the way in which again to the restaurant, about 5 miles into our experience, we drove west on Geary Boulevard, hoping to take a left onto Van Ness Avenue, a important thoroughfare.

We had been to see how the automobile would deal with the intersection, one of many busier corners within the metropolis — and one, it turned out, with severe foot visitors for near 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. For a lot of the experience, the automobile appeared to take facet streets slightly than important roads, steering properly away from heavy visitors and unprotected left-hand turns. However, as we approached Van Ness, autos lined up each in entrance and behind us. All of a sudden, the automobile known as off its flip and pulled to the facet of the road.

“A possible collision was detected,” the disembodied voice stated.

Simply earlier than the automobile pulled over, Mr. Henry had rolled down his window midway and perched his iPhone on the sting of the glass utilizing a small tripod. The concept had been to get a greater angle on what was taking place in entrance of the automobile. After the experience, a Cruise spokesman stated the transfer had spooked the automobile. One leg of the tripod had been on the surface of the glass.

The corporate stated its vehicles pulled to the curb if an object was “protruding unsafely” from the car, or if somebody tried to climb out of the window. However this sometimes is not going to occur, the corporate stated, if a passenger places his hand a brief distance exterior the window and waves to a pal.

The vehicles are designed to drag over when issues go mistaken. In April, cops stopped a Cruise automobile after noticing its headlights weren’t on, and the automobile appeared to drag away from the officers as they walked to its window. It was pulling to the curb — a lot because it does when it spots an iPhone on a tripod.

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