Car headlight

Imagine that failing to get a wireless signal doesn’t just brick your phone but causes your car to die, and all cars around you to also die, awaiting some poor service mechanic to come and nudge it out of the center of the road.

This happened, and most embarrassingly of all it happened just one day after a controversial vote to allow autonomous vehicles — aka self-driving cars — to expand operations in San Francisco and ostensibly throughout California.

Festival goers leaving and San Francisco residents recorded footage of as many as ten self-driving Cruise vehicles bricked and awaiting servicing late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Another Cruise vehicle was immobilized for nearly an hour at an intersection at 34th and Judah St.

Cruise acknowledged the cock-up and blamed internet use by the crowd at Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands Festival. “A large festival posed wireless bandwidth constraints causing delayed connectivity to our vehicles,” @Cruise noted on Twitter. “We are actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again. We apologize to those who were impacted.”

The latter appears to be one variation of the boiler plate attached to public complaints about driverless Cruise vehicles nearly hitting things, including people and dogs, of which there appear to be many:

The Outside Lands fiasco occurred just one day after the California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-1 to allow Cruise (owned by General Motors) and Waymo to expand robotaxi operations in San Francisco, despite opposition from police, firefighters and presumably the many people complaining about nearly being hit by erratic driverless vehicles. One of the commissioners was the actual managing counsel for Cruise until a year ago. Unsurprisingly, he voted in favor of the loosening of restrictions on self-driving vehicles.

Photo: The last thing you’ll see before you die, via Olav Tvedt on Unsplash