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Stop & Go for robotaxis

Thursday, August 24, 2023

It’s been quite an eventful summer for the robotaxi industry, particularly in the US. On the one hand, many of the main actors have expanded their operations beyond their already proven environments.

Bild på personer som kliver ombord i en robotaxi

GM-owned Cruise has extended its trials to Atlanta and its CEO claims they will soon be in 7 cities. Waymo recently added Austin to its operations, making it the fourth city on their list. Among the somewhat less visible robotaxi players there has also been serious action as Amazon-backed Zoox announced trials in Las Vegas with employees on public roads, and Volkswagen will begin tests in Austin with its ID. Buzz.

 On the other hand, and essentially for the first time, the self-driving industry has faced organized opposition from San Francisco residents who encounter robotaxis on a daily basis. Several reports of driverless vehicles causing traffic congestion and sometimes becoming obstacles to emergency vehicles triggered Safe Street Rebels to organize a campaign in which the robotaxis were effectively disabled by putting traffic cones on the hood. This happened just as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was to decide on requested extensions of the commercial operations by Waymo and Cruise. Following weeks of heavy lobbying from both sides, and a delay of the decision, on August 10 CPUC voted in favor of the requested expansion. Howewer, after an incident the next day when 10 Cruise cars stopped traffic at an intersection, San Francisco city officials now threaten to appeal the decision.