California is reducing San Francisco’s self-driving taxi fleet.

California‌ Regulator Cracks Down on ⁢Self-Driving Taxis in San Francisco

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ⁣has taken action against the​ presence of self-driving taxis in San Francisco, ⁤just days after approving their expansion. ‍This move ‌seems to reflect⁣ concerns about the reliability ​of the technology.

The DMV‍ announced on ​Sunday that General Motors’ robo-taxi service ⁢Cruise must ⁣reduce ​its fleet of self-driving ⁢vehicles in San Francisco ‍by‌ half. ‍This decision comes shortly⁢ after state ‍agencies granted them permission to ⁤expand their⁢ operations⁤ without limitations. The​ fleet‌ reduction ⁢was prompted by a recent ⁢incident‌ where one of Cruise’s vehicles ​collided with⁢ an emergency vehicle, highlighting the challenges that autonomous​ vehicles face on city⁤ streets.

Investigating Safety Concerns

The DMV stated that it is currently investigating these “concerning” incidents involving​ Cruise vehicles. Both the automotive operator⁣ and law enforcement are⁣ cooperating in​ this initiative.

Cruise has acknowledged their collaboration with the ‍DMV ‍but has framed the crashes⁢ as part of⁢ the everyday risks of driving.

“Every day, over one hundred people lose their lives on American roadways, ⁢and countless others are seriously injured,” said Hannah Lindow, a Cruise spokeswoman. “We firmly believe that Cruise has a positive impact on overall road ⁢safety. We look forward‍ to working with the ‍CA DMV to make ⁢any necessary improvements and​ provide ‍them with the data they need to reinforce the safety ‍and​ efficiency of our fleet.”

Reducing Accidents, Not Eliminating⁢ Them

Vahid ‌Behzadan, a‌ data and computer science professor at the ‍University of New⁣ Haven, explains that the‍ goal of self-driving ⁤cars is not to completely eliminate‍ accidents but to reduce⁢ their frequency.

Behzadan, ​who conducts research on‌ safety and security through ⁣AI-powered tools, suggests​ that the challenges faced by autonomous vehicles may stem from blind spots and the complexities of​ quickly interpreting changing situations, such as ‍the ⁤presence of emergency vehicles ‍or speeding‌ cars.​ If⁤ not addressed, these challenges can put the‍ vehicles in dangerous situations.

Expanding Fleet, Increasing Risks

The California Public Utilities Commission authorized autonomous companies like Cruise ‌and Waymo to⁢ expand​ their fleet of⁤ vehicles on August 10. As a result, more self-driving cars flooded the streets, leading ‍to an increase in ⁣risky driving ​decisions.

In the⁤ days following the CPUC vote, at least three crashes were reported. One ‌incident involved a fire engine colliding with a Cruise vehicle at an intersection while responding to an emergency. ‌Another ‌crash occurred when a car ran ⁢a red light and ⁣hit a Cruise vehicle. Additionally, a third vehicle got stuck in ⁣wet concrete in ⁤a construction area on ⁢the Golden ⁤Gate.

Other ⁢incidents included⁢ nearly⁢ a ‌dozen‌ Cruise vehicles​ causing ​disruptions during a San Francisco music⁢ festival. Firefighters even had to break the windows of driverless cars to clear ​the⁤ way.

It remains uncertain ⁣if Cruise⁢ can effectively⁢ address all the‍ potential dangers its⁣ vehicles encounter on‍ a daily basis, according‍ to Behzadan. Furthermore, public trust in self-driving ⁢cars appears to be ⁤low, with ‌over ​70% of ⁤people expressing fear of autonomous​ vehicles, as revealed by an‌ AAA ‌poll conducted in⁢ March.

Click ⁣here to read more from The Washington‍ Examiner.

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