Traffic Jams Caused by Driverless Cars Blamed on Too Many People Using WiFi

( – Robot car operator Cruise caused a traffic jam with ten of their vehicles in San Francisco when thousands of local music festival attendees taxed the local WiFi system, causing an interruption in the ability of the company to reroute their vehicles manually by remote.

The San Francisco Police Department confirmed that the music festival was responsible for the added burden on the city’s WiFi system. The 2022 festival had over 220,000 people attend, explaining the additional strain.

Cruise, owned by General Motors, just received approval from the city to operate more of their driverless “robotaxis.” Representatives from the company cited “wireless connectivity” disruptions as the reason ten of their vehicles wouldn’t budge, blocking traffic. The cars blocked entry into two streets in the restaurant area of the city, sitting with their hazard lights on for roughly fifteen minutes before continuing on their journeys, according to reporting by the LA Times.

Cruise apologized to those impacted in a statement. A Cruise representative and San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin had their text messages published which revealed that the company couldn’t communicate with the cars due to the public WiFi system being maxed out. A potential solution involves Cruise building its own cellular network in the city to allow a constant and exclusive line to its vehicles that doesn’t depend on public resources.

The California Public Utilities Commission recently changed the rules to allow Cruise and another robotaxi service owned by Google-parent Alphabet called Waymo to allow the companies to charge riders for driverless taxi rides that are totally automated twenty-four hours a day. New regulations coming down the line will eliminate or raise caps on how many vehicles the company can operate simultaneously in the city. Cruise currently has 300 vehicles while Waymo operates with a fleet of 250.

Both companies are still in the early stages of their pilot programs with approved riders only allowed at present. They have boasted waitlists that number in the hundreds of thousands, however.

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