Cruise driverless cars blocked traffic in San Francisco

Nearly 20 driverless cars caused a major riot on the corner of Gough and Fulton streets in San Francisco Tuesday night, the San Francisco Examiner reported earlier this week.

According to local Reddit users, Cruise’s self-driving cars inexplicably stood still and blocked traffic for two hours, rendering the area completely impassable. Eventually, employees at the San Francisco-based tech company had to physically get the cars off the road themselves.

Sean Sinha, a bouncer at Smuggler’s Cove, posted several photos of the incident on Reddit, showing groups of cars just parked in the middle of the street. “The first thing I say to my colleague is that they are conspiring to murder us. It was quite a surreal event,” he wrote. “People had to come and take the cars away manually. Cruise should be fined for blocking the road for so long. They even made it so the street sweeper couldn’t hit an entire block.” According to the outlet, the cars weren’t taken off the road until midnight.

In May of this year, Wired reported that Cruise vehicles blocked a fire truck responding to an emergency in San Francisco. The car reportedly sat in traffic until a garbage truck driver rushed over to move it himself and clear the way for firefighters. And in April, Twitter users posted videos of a Cruise vehicle unexpectedly speeding away from cops on Clement Street.

Such incidents are not uncommon – and the city government suspects that there will be more in the future. Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter of the San Francisco Fire Department says the “biggest problem” he’s seen is driverless cars not dodging emergency vehicles. As a result, they block the road, impede staff and delay response times. “What we see are the vehicles stopping as we try to move,” he said. “So again, these are the things that we’re going to bring to the company, no matter what brand name is on the side of the autonomous vehicle, and let them know that’s happened.”

Following the Gough Street traffic stop and a similar incident, which was said to have occurred around midnight that same evening, a Cruise spokesman provided the investigator with the following statement: “We had an issue earlier this week which resulted in the some of our vehicles huddled together. While it has been resolved and no passengers were affected, we apologize to anyone who caused the inconvenience.”

Sean Sinha and the San Francisco Police Department did not respond to SFGATE’s request for comment.