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Driverless cars lose signal, cause huge traffic jam in San Francisco — city blames it on too many people using wifi

  About 10 driverless cars caused a traffic jam in San Francisco after they lost their signal, just a day after the state signed an approval...

 About 10 driverless cars caused a traffic jam in San Francisco after they lost their signal, just a day after the state signed an approval to expand the use of the robot vehicles in the city.

Cruise, the company behind the service colloquially known as robotaxis, said its cars were suffering from “wireless connectivity issues” when a fleet of their vehicles blocked traffic, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Cruise is owned by General Motors.  

Around 10 of the Cruise taxis blocked two narrow city streets in the restaurant district while real drivers reportedly sat helplessly in wait. The driverless cars remained motionless for at least 15 minutes with their hazard lights on before waking up and continuing on their way, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We are actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again and apologize to those impacted,” Cruise said in a statement. 

San Francisco police reportedly confirmed that the reason for the connection issues was the large number of people attending the Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park. The concerts, which saw 220,000 attendees in 2022, allegedly overtaxed the wifi system.

A text message conversation between San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin and a Cruise government affairs manager revealed that the company was unable to use its remote abilities to reroute the cars with the poor connectivity. 

As a result, the company representative reportedly told the government official that it will consider building its own cellular network.

The California Public Utilities Commission recently approved the lifting of regulations on Cruise, along with Alphabet-owned robotaxi service Waymo, to make it so both companies can charge for driverless rides without a safety driver present, 24 hours a day.

New resolutions also remove mileage caps and limits of fleet sizes. Cruise has 300, cars while Waymo has 250. While the Cruise cars operate only at speeds up to 35 mph, Waymo has noted that its vehicles are allowed to go up to 65 mph.

Neither company has deployed vehicles onto the freeway yet.

Robotaxies aren't publicly available, however. Only pre-approved passengers are allowed to use the robot cars in the pilot program, with Waymo writing in a blog post that its wait list exceeds 100,000 people.

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