County’s Transportation Authority Reports Numerous 911 Calls Due to “baffling self-driving car behavior”

By B.N. Frank

Experts have warned for years that all autonomous aka self-driving software applications are problematic (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) – not just Tesla’s (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).  Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped cities from allowing and encouraging autonomous vehicles (AVs) including self-driving taxis and trucks to be operated on their roads.  Of course, as more U.S. cities continue to become “smart”, what’s happening in San Francisco County could happen where you live too.  Are you ready?

From Newser:

This City’s Self-Driving Cars Are Causing Oodles of 911 Calls

San Francisco logged nearly 100 emergency calls about autonomous cars in second half of 2022.

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2023 1:55 PM CST

Traffic in San Francisco was, well, weird during the last half of 2022, and fingers are being pointed at the city’s autonomous vehicles. Per a Wednesday letter from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to the California Public Utilities Commission, there were a whole lot of 911 calls (92, to be exact) from May 29 through Dec. 31 of last year regarding what Vice calls “baffling self-driving car behavior” throughout the city—everything from annoyances like AVs blocking streets and intersections, as well as boxing buses in, to odder incidents like gunning it for fire hoses lying on the ground as firefighters battled blazes. A concerning 60% of the calls were about incidents that took place along the city’s bike network.

Self-driving taxi services are especially raising eyebrows, most notably the GM-owned Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo services. NBC News reports that both companies are seeking to expand their fleets within San Francisco, competing with each other to be the first to provide 24-hour robotaxi service in the city, but the city is pushing back, asking regulators to stymie such expansion due to the self-driving issues. The SFCTA letter, signed by the heads of not only that agency, but also the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Mayor’s Office on Disability, says officials are wary of “fundamental problems for the general public” from the AV fleets, especially for Cruise vehicles.

The only reason the Cruise incidents, some of which have happened “in clusters,” haven’t been more disruptive is because the AVs are permitted to operate only between 10pm and 6am local time, when there’s not as much traffic on the streets, per the letter. Officials also wonder if that number of 92 incidents might be low for the same reason, as there might not be many people out and about to report them. The letter stressed that officials are advocating for slower, more incremental expansion based on improvements to the AVs. (Read more self-driving car stories.)

In addition to their potential for dangerous incidents, like other electric vehicles (EVs), AVs emit high levels of biologically and environmentally harmful electromagnetic and wireless radiation (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  That has some people worried too.

Activist Post reports regularly about autonomous vehicles (AVs) and other unsafe technologies.  For more information, visit our archives.

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