Hold On! Gimme A Sec

Waymo’s Self-driving Cars Love This Dead-end Street in SF

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For the past decade, Waymo has been testing its self-driving cars in San Francisco. However, an apparent change in the vehicles’ routing has caused many of them to head straight for a dead-end street in a quiet part of San Francisco, leaving residents baffled.

A recent CBS report went to the street — 15th Avenue north of Lake Street in Richmond — to see if it could figure out why so many of Waymo’s self-driving cars are showing up, turning around, and driving away.

It’s not just the occasional Waymo car that’s showing up, either. One local estimated that up to 50 self-driving vehicles could appear in a single day, rumbling down the road “literally every five minutes.” When the CBS crew arrived on the scene, several Waymo cars arrived at the same time, forcing the autonomous vehicles to queue while performing a multi-point turn before driving out the same way they came in.

Some residents have approached the cars’ human safety drivers, inquiring as to why the vehicles seem to prefer this particular street.

The drivers, on the other hand, are apparently unaware, telling the bemused locals that the car appears to be programmed that way and that as safety drivers, they’re simply doing their job by sitting behind the wheel and following the car wherever it leads them.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, an electric car company with a number of driver-assist features, tweeted a response to the bizarre situation, simply saying, “Haha.”

“The Waymo driver was obeying the same road rules that any car is required to follow,” a Waymo spokesperson told the BBC, adding that its vehicles occasionally make a detour in response to the presence of one of the city’s so-called “slow streets,” which are designed to reduce traffic in some residential areas.

But it still seems odd that, despite San Francisco’s large size and abundance of streets, so many Waymo vehicles are continuing to trundle into this particular dead-end street.“Definitely they’re exploring something on this little piece of land,” one bemused resident said.

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