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Confused self-driving cars are flooding a normally quiet dead-end street in San Francisco

  • October 14, 2021

The residents of a relatively quiet neighborhood in San Francisco are seeing an influx of self-driving visitors. 

A steady stream of automated Waymo cars has reportedly been flowing into a dead end in the city’s Richmond District, disrupting routes for passengers and forcing them to turn the car around themselves, local news outlet KPIX reported.

And based on what neighbors are saying, it’s not just one or two vehicles coming by.

“There are some days where it can be up to 50,” nearby resident Jennifer King told KPIX. “It’s literally every five minutes. And we’re all working from home, so this is what we hear.”

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This isn’t just a recent development, either, one resident says. 

“It’s been going on for six, eight weeks, maybe more,” Andrea Lewin told KPIX.

The cars use what Waymo calls “lidar” sensors, which give the vehicle a picture of its surroundings. So, when it encounters something like a dead end, these tools would presumably command the vehicle to stop.

As for what’s drawing the cars to the dead end in the first place, that’s still not fully clear.

Waymo told KPIX the company is looking into the issue to see what can be done. Company representatives did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

The Alphabet-owned company expanded its self-driving services to San Francisco in August, encouraging residents to help test its vehicles as part of its “Trusted Tester” program.

Follow Jay Cannon of USA TODAY on Twitter: @JayTCannon

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