News Update


How San Francisco is being divided by robotaxis

There is no driver in the cab. It comes to a halt in front of me and offers me to unlock its door with my phone before whisking me away into the darkness.

But just as I’m about to enter, a passer-by approaches.

“They’re unsafe,” he says. He claims to have witnessed someone nearly being ran over by a robotaxi and cautions me to be cautious.

He leads a faction in San Francisco that opposes robotaxis and believes the city has accepted to a risky experiment that is endangering lives.

Some have even gone a step farther. During the summer, a campaign group began to disable the cars by placing cones on their hoods.

Safe Street Rebel calls what they do “coning,” and some of their videos have gone viral. However, city officials are committed to allowing them to operate on their streets for the time being.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted on August 10, 2023, to allow two cab companies, Waymo and Cruise, to operate a 24-hour service. Previously, they could only perform paid trips at night.

However, officials listened to six hours of public discussion before the vote, which was a conveyor belt of individuals sharing their hopes and fears.

There were Uber and Lyft drivers who were concerned that robotaxis would take away their employment: “If self-driving taxis are allowed to expand, it will take jobs away from families.” “I’m a single mother,” Rosine, an Uber driver in the city, explained.

Representatives from garbage collection trucks said the cars frequently broke down and obstructed their vehicles. San Francisco’s fire department has also criticized the autos, stating that they had been obstructed 55 times this year.


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