Why Waymo’s automobiles preserve hitting similar SF dead-end avenue



Hearken to this text

A report by KPIX stated residents within the Richmond District of San Francisco have just lately seen a gradual stream of Waymo self-driving automobiles making u-turns on the dead-end avenue of fifteenth Avenue. One resident stated the automobiles come in any respect hours of the day. The KPIX report even caught two Waymo automobiles making an attempt to show round on the similar time. You possibly can watch the KPIX report above.
“There are some days the place it may be as much as 50,” stated neighborhood resident Jennifer King. “It’s actually each 5 minutes. And we’re all working from house, so that is what we hear.”
So why are Waymo’s self-driving automobiles making u-turn after u-turn on a dead-end avenue in San Francisco? Based on Waymo, it has nothing to do with its autonomous driving expertise being confused, a mapping concern, or a maneuver it’s making an attempt to excellent.
Waymo despatched an announcement to The Robotic Report in regards to the concern. Waymo stated this can be a results of the San Francisco Gradual Streets program that was launched across the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed introduced this system in April 2020 to restrict via site visitors on sure residential streets and permit them for use as a shared area for individuals touring by foot and by bicycle. Initially, Gradual Streets have been launched on 4.5 miles of San Francisco streets. Nevertheless, that was shortly elevated to about 20 miles by mid-Might and now about 45 miles a 12 months later. This system might grow to be everlasting.
One space during which these Waymo automobiles are working falls beneath this Gradual Streets program. All automobiles, both human-driven or autonomous, touring northbound on fifteenth Ave should make a u-turn sooner or later. There’s no different technique to exit that block. There are limitations that prohibit via site visitors on Lake St East and west of fifteenth Ave, and signage/limitations that prohibit northbound via site visitors on fifteenth Ave.
Right here’s the assertion from Waymo: “We frequently alter to dynamic San Francisco highway guidelines. On this case, automobiles touring north of California on fifteenth Ave should take a u-turn because of the presence of Gradual Streets signage on Lake. So, the Waymo Driver was obeying the identical highway guidelines that any automobile is required to observe.”
Map of San Francisco’s Gradual Streets
We adopted up with Waymo about what it’s particularly doing on this Gradual Streets space with its automobiles, however have but to listen to again. We’ll replace this story if we hear again.
Like all autonomous automobiles, after all, Waymo’s automobiles nonetheless get confused by sure edge instances. One of many extra notable instances happened in Might when one in every of Waymo’s automobiles in Arizona was repeatedly confused by site visitors cones. The automobile then evaded human help a number of occasions.
Together with competitor Cruise, Waymo just lately obtained a allow to supply robotaxi rides to public passengers in California. Waymo’s allow permits it to function its autonomous automobiles in sure elements of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Nevertheless, the automobiles will need to have human security drivers behind the wheel. Waymo’s automobiles are accepted to function on public roads with a pace restrict of not more than 65 MPH and also can function in rain and lightweight fog. The DMV didn’t specify a timeframe during which Waymo’s automobiles might function.
Waymo began public testing in San Francisco in August 2021 with human security drivers behind the wheel. Waymo has been working a Stage 4 public robotaxi service in elements of Arizona since October 2020.