SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — One day after receiving approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to expand driverless vehicles’ presence in San Francisco, Cruise experienced issues that halted traffic in the city.
Viewer video (above) sent to KRON4 shows at least five Cruise cars blocking traffic Friday night in the North Beach neighborhood. The driverless cars stopped in the middle of the road and prevented travelers from driving around the traffic.
At least six Cruise vehicles were seen causing traffic near Grant Avenue and Vallejo Street. One person in the video is heard saying there were approximately 10 stationary Cruise cars.
The Cruise cars stopped because of “wireless connectivity issues,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement to KRON4. The autonomous vehicle company confirmed connectivity issues were linked to Outside Lands, which held its first day of the three-day music festival.
“We are actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again and apologize to those impacted,” Cruise said.
Mayor London Breed tweeted her thoughts about autonomous vehicles in the city. She is committed to integrating them in San Francisco. However, she acknowledged there are issues with driverless vehicles, such as when they interfere with first responders.
District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin reacted to the news.
“Why do state commissioners think it’s OK to put people in danger + create traffic chaos on our neighborhoods streets? We warned them + they refused to listen,” Peskin tweeted.
The San Francisco Fire Department “strongly disagrees” with California Public Utilities Commission’s decision to expand driverless vehicles in the city. The department released a statement below on Friday.
The Fire Department strongly disagrees with yesterday’s CPUC decision to allow commercial operations by the autonomous vehicle companies in San Francisco. We believe the ruling ignores public safety and emergency response interference that we presented to the Commission this week. The decision permits industry expansion without solving any of the underlying problems. We do not believe the industry has any incentive to remain at the table and solve their problems. These incidents with Public Safety are not going away and are in fact increasing. The Fire Department will continue to work with our Citypartners and the industry – if they remain willing – to improve the safety of the streets and community by improving the robotaxis ability to drive safely. The San Francisco Fire Department is not against modernization and new technologies but, any vehicle that endangers the people of the City and its visitors in danger and would put its passengers between a fire engine and a fire is not ready for prime time.
Captain Jonathan Baxter, San Francisco Fire Department
Watch the video of the Cruise cars causing traffic in the media player above.
KRON4 reached out to Outside Lands for comment about Cruise citing the music festival as a reason for its connectivity issues. We are waiting to hear back.