Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared his thoughts about an incident involving a driverless Cruise robotaxi in San Francisco. The incident involved the driverless car seemingly getting stuck in the middle of the road, blocking traffic in the process.
The video of the Cruise robotaxi’s mishap was shared on Twitter by user Benjamin Lim, who clarified that he is actually in the company’s beta program. As could be seen in the video, the Cruise robotaxi was stopped in front of a man holding a stop sign. At the time the video was taken, the robotaxi was already stationary.
The Cruise robotaxi ended up blocking some traffic due to its mishap. The video alone showed heavy equipment navigating around the stopped driverless car. Based on the incident and its video, it appeared that the robotaxi was not accompanied by a safety driver, which could have navigated the car away from the intersection easily.
The incident caught the eye of EV enthusiasts, including a Tesla supporter who noted that generalized autonomous driving is a hundred times harder than the “brittle” solutions adopted by companies like Cruise. For context, Cruise and most driverless robotaxis today rely on a suite of sensors such as LiDAR to navigate a geofenced area. Tesla, on the other hand, is developing a driverless suite that works on any road under any conditions.
Elon Musk responded to the Tesla enthusiast’s Twitter post, noting that brittle self-driving solutions would not indeed scale. “Yeah, extremely brittle to local conditions & doesn’t scale,” Musk wrote in a response on Twitter.
While Musk’s comments may be seen as the CEO dunking on the misfortune of competitors in the full self-driving sphere, he is coming from a place of experience. Tesla, after all, has been pursuing autonomous driving for years to the point where even avid Tesla supporters have become skeptical of Elon Musk’s own timelines for actual full self-driving’s release.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that a Cruise robotaxi caused some inconvenience in San Francisco. Just this past April, Cruise recalled its fleet following a robotaxi’s crash with a bus. Cruise robotaxis were also spotted driving through caution tape during a storm. And last year, a Cruise robotaxi was involved in a crash with a Toyota Prius, though the incident appeared to have been caused primarily by the hybrid car’s driver.
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