Again, multiple rides in a driverless cruise robo-taxi led me to spend the night in San Francisco’s nightlife district. Coinciding with Halloween, I made four trips on the 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Robotaxis, always taking friends with me. It gets tight when three of you have to squeeze into the back seat of the Chevrolet Bolt and try to put on your seat belt, but as soon as this hurdle is overcome, everything goes smoothly.
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We drove from the Amelie Bar on Polk Street in San Francisco to Palmer’s Tavern on Fillmore Street. We got out there and called another robotaxi to drive back to the starting point. There were two German and two Austrian friends with me, with whom I drove off after a glass of wine.
A new detail I could observe was the radar attachments on the rearview mirror that changed direction. These seemed to want to look into crossing streets, or maybe cover a larger angle at an intersection where we had to wait. You can see that in the first video starting at minute 4:00.
What was special this time? We encountered some passers-by trying to cross the street in front of the car – nothing new or special. We also drove past the small cruise depot, where more vehicles were waiting to be sent onto the road. And we saw passers-by enthusiastically pointing to the driverless robotaxi. We waved back and felt extra cool.
The rides themselves went very smooth, double parked cars and cars that braked and turned in front of an entrance were handled confidently by the Cruise Robotaxis. Here is a video of one of the many driverless Cruise robotaxis that we encountered in the night.
In the following video we see the car at the very end stop in the middle of the lane, not crossing or stopping at the bike lane, to let us out. This upset a driver behind us, who honked at the car, not realizing that there is no driver in the car.
The vehicles were named Butternut Squash and Garnet. I paid around 8 US dollars for the 7- to 9-minute rides. By the way, these were my 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th trip with the driverless Cruise-Robotaxi.
This article was also published in German.