Self-Driving Robot Taxis Are Coming: Are They Safe?

Self-Driving Robot Taxis Are Coming: Are They Safe?

Would you ride in a driverless taxi? The new frontier of public transportation has become a reality, especially in the United States In San Francisco, where the Public Service Commission has officially approved so-called ‘robotaxis’ customs Authorizing the two companies that manage the service, Cruise and Waymo, to broadcast their vehicles to wider time slots and more areas, and allowing them to charge fees, given that until now the rides have been free. However, one decision further exacerbated the safety issue related to autonomous vehicles.

‘Robotaxis’ service

wemoThe company, owned by Alphabet, the conglomerate that controls Google, has a fleet of about 200 cars in limited areas, but currently provides transportation services at no charge to passengers. cruiseThe General Motors-led company, instead, has a presence in three cities, San Francisco (where it only charges fares in a limited area), Austin, and Phoenix, where it operates an average of 1,000 trips a day thanks to a fleet of 300 cars. . ,

Prior to increasing the hours and delivery areas of ‘robotaxis’, the Public Service Commission heard a number of testimonies from citizens, including those from advocates against and in favor of driverless public transport (here we discussed the case against taxi drivers in Italy talked about the antitrust investigation).

In recent months, many motorists have protested over safety concerns related to driverless services. Waymo’s road tests started in October 2018, while Cruise’s in December 2020 and till now No serious accident would have been registered, However, there was no shortage of unforeseen incidents, such as sudden stops, collisions with fire hydrants on sidewalks, sudden stops in the middle of bicycle lanes, and in some cases even hindered rescue efforts (here we talked about EVTOL air taxis while We wrote here about the arrival of taxis flying to Milan).

All the unforeseen events have caused traffic inconvenience in the city on several occasions, much to the dismay of the citizens, who have often resorted to a trick to stop the ‘robotaxis’: a traffic cone on the hood of a carWhich stays like this until one of the companies intervenes.

According to a recent study by a team from the University of Copenhagen, reported by ‘ilSole24Ora’, self-driving vehicles will actually contribute to traffic congestion and can be potentially dangerous due to their inability to understand human behavior.

Tesla case

There’s also apparently interest in the success of self-driving cars Tesla, Which has introduced the ‘Autopilot’ driver assistance system in its vehicles since 2019, has come under federal authority for nearly 800 accidents in recent years that have claimed 17 lives.

Despite the implementation in software developed by Elon Musk’s company, the University of Copenhagen team has shown that the actual road performance of these vehicles is unknown because it is hidden by a trade secret. Musk himself had announced a Tesla robotaxis for 2020, later extending the target to 2024, as the project would be based on a full self-driving system under development.





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