A recent incident involving a driverless car in San Francisco has raised questions about the reliability of autonomous vehicles despite their potential benefits, such as reduced congestion, pollution, and accidents caused by human error. In this particular case, a driverless car became stuck in wet concrete on a city paving project. The incident occurred shortly after regulators expanded driverless taxi services in the city, despite safety concerns.
The mishap involved a vehicle from Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, and it’s unclear how the car ended up in the concrete. The San Francisco Department of Public Works had marked off the construction area, and city officials had previously expressed concerns about such vehicles stopping unexpectedly or encroaching on unusual areas. A Cruise spokesperson confirmed the incident and stated that the company was working with city officials.
Although driverless cars are a common sight in San Francisco for testing purposes, they have been involved in other incidents, such as cars stopping near a music festival and blocking emergency vehicles. Despite these challenges, driverless car companies assert their safety records are better than those of human drivers, with fewer collisions and less severe accidents.
Experts note that such incidents are part of the learning process for autonomous vehicles, as they need exposure to diverse real-world situations to improve their performance. The encounter with wet concrete and other challenges can contribute to enhancing their capabilities over time.