Waymo has been testing its self-driving cars in San Francisco for the past decade. But an apparent change in the route of the vehicles has caused many to head down a dead end street in a quiet San Francisco neighborhood, causing residents to wonder what’s going on.
A recent CBS report visited the street – 15th Avenue north of Lake Street in Richmond – to see if it could figure out why so many Waymo self-driving cars show up, turn around, and then drive away.
You see, it’s not just the occasional Waymo car that makes an appearance. One resident said as many as 50 of the autonomous vehicles can show up in a single day, thundering along the road “literally every five minutes”. When the CBS crew was on site, they saw several Waymo cars arriving at the same time, forcing the autonomous vehicles to line up as each made a multi-point turn before leaving the same way they entered.
Some people in the area have even approached the human safety drivers of the cars to ask them why the vehicles have taken a liking to this particular street.
But the drivers don’t seem to know, telling the puzzled locals that the car appears to be programmed this way, and that as a safety driver, they are just doing their job of sitting behind the wheel and going where the hell is. car takes them.
Even Elon Musk, head of the electric car company Tesla whose vehicles include a number of driver assistance features, tweeted a response to the bizarre situation, simply saying, “Haha.”
A Waymo spokesperson told the BBC that his vehicles would sometimes make a detour in response to the presence of one of the city’s “slow streets”, designed to reduce traffic in some residential areas, adding: “The Waymo’s driver obeyed the same rules of the road that any car is required to follow.
But it still seems odd that, despite the large size and abundance of streets in San Francisco, so many Waymo vehicles continue to weave their way through this particular dead end street.
“Certainly, they explore Something on this little piece of land, âsaid a perplexed resident.