Thursday, June 17, 2021
News Waymo Parks Autonomous Test Fleet Over Election Concerns

Waymo Parks Autonomous Test Fleet Over Election Concerns

Autonomous cars staying home while votes settled

  • San Francisco AVs parked in secure area

  • Many US cities worried about post-election violence


Autonomous driving startup Waymo was so concerned about post-election chaos in the Bay Area that it halted testing of its AV operations snd moved its fleet to a secure location, according to a new report.

The decision was made “out of an abundance of caution ahead of some of the planned protests around the general election,” Chris Cheung, general manager at Transdev North America, said in an email obtained by The Verge.

The report cited two safety drivers with Waymo who said that they were told on Monday to drive their autonomous testers from San Francisco to Mountain View, and then had to take a taxi back to their base and pick up their own vehicles.

Safety drivers will be paid during the suspension of operations, The Verge reported, and that vehicles based in Mountain View, a city located south of San Francisco and east of San Jose along the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

A spokesperson for Waymo confirmed the operational change, telling the site that “Out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our team in mind, we are temporarily suspending driving operations in San Francisco on 11/3 and 11/4.”

Businesses in many US cities have suspended operations or stepped up security, including covering storefronts with plywood, out of a concern that election day could lead to further protests and violence, with results not expected for days after yesterday’s vote.

 

 

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