Citizen reporter Joel Johnson documenting some of his hair raising experiences in a San Francisco robot taxicab . Includes video.
Watts Up With That
Wed, 19 May 2021
Waymo self-driving robotaxi goes rogue with passenger inside, escapes support staff
We speak to man who experienced and recorded wild ride first hand
Thomas Claburn in San Francisco Mon 17 May 2021 // 20:51 UTC
A Waymo self-driving car got stuck several times, held up traffic intermittently, and departed unexpectedly when assistance arrived. The wayward autonomous vehicle was finally commandeered by a support driver.
Joel Johnson has recorded several dozen videos documenting his rides in Waymo robotaxis which he posts to his website and YouTube Channel.
Johnson is advised to remain seated with his seat belt fastened in case the car starts moving again, which it does: about four minutes later, the car decides to turn into the unblocked lefthand southbound land, only to swerve back into the right hand lane between two traffic cones after passing the “Keep Left” sign that directs drivers not to be in that lane.
“Oh, I don’t think it was supposed to do that,” Johnson said to the Waymo operator, still on the line. “…Oh now, it’s blocking the entire road.”
A few minutes later, the car reverses into the open left-hand lane.
“Okay, so we ‘re backing out,” said Johnson. “Very interesting.”
“So it backed out…,” the operator said.
“And then now it’s blocking the whole lane instead of half of it,” Johnson replied.
Note the video contains a section of annoying corporate voiceover, you can skip forward a bit if you get tired of listening to Waymo’s excuses explanation.
This incident brings back memories of many years ago, when my mum tried to teach me to drive. She turned up unexpectedly to give me a lesson the day after a big night. It didn’t work out.
Lets just say that if my impression that autonomous cabs struggle to match my driving skills on the day of my first driving lesson is correct, I’m going to wait a few years before trusting my life to a robot driver.
Martin comments: No way would I trust my life to a “self driving” vehicle. Robots are incapable of making spur-of-the -moment life-or-death decisions. I doubt a machine even comprehends the concept of life and death. Humans may not be perfect, as the road toll demonstrates, but we have something that robots don’t: A survival instinct.