In the backseat, footage was captured as a self-driving taxi went rogue and drove away from technicians who came to help after it got stuck.
YouTuber Joel Johnson – whose channel ‘JJ Ricks Studio’ shares clips from his Waymo autonomous taxi rides in Chandler, Arizona – documented the entire incident that started when the self-driving van got confused and through traffic cones.
The ride, shared by Johnson last Wednesday, started normally – until 12 minutes later, when the self-driving Chrysler van tried to turn into a street but closed one lane.
Confused by the unexpected blockage, the van stopped and help was called for roadside assistance.
But before they could arrive, the van briefly revived and completed its turn – then stopped abruptly, partially blocking traffic.
“I don’t think it should have done that,” Johnson says nervously to a telecom operator. “Oh no, now it blocks the whole way.”
YouTuber Joel Johnson – whose channel ‘JJ Ricks Studio’ is mainly videos of his Waymo autonomous taxi rides in Chandler, Arizona – captured his self-driving taxi
A YouTube video captures a passenger’s chaotic ride in a self-driving Waymo taxi that continues to stop and pull away abruptly while waiting for roadside assistance
After the construction cones were removed, the van reversed a few meters, meaning it blocked the entire lane.
Johnson was filmed speaking to a construction worker who asked if he could move the car while other drivers honked at the vehicle.
Johnson told him there should be roadside assistance at any time when the car starts moving and almost collides with a passing vehicle.
The car drove on before roadside assistance could arrive.
Johnson had a sense of humor about the confusion, saying, “This has been a very nice turn of events.”
The car then got stuck again and the roadside assistance was called again and finally arrived.
But when they reached the car, the steering wheel turned sharply and Johnson said to the operator, “You better hurry, it’ll get away,” as the taxi takes off.
The car stopped abruptly, which meant technicians could finally get in the car and end the bizarre story.
“What a nice video this will be, woo hoo!” Johnson said, laughing at the unexpectedly thrilling ride.
Waymo currently owns 600 vehicles in its entire fleet with more than 300 vehicles operating in Arizona
Waymo currently owns 600 vehicles across its entire fleet with over 300 vehicles in Arizona, The edge reported.
For its self-driving vehicles, Waymo has a team of remote workers who monitor live images of the vehicles and can assist if the software requires human assistance.
But the company claims that the remote assistance team cannot ‘joystick’ the vehicles and take over their driving, but can only make suggestions to help the car out of difficult situations, The Verge reported.
The car company says the incident Johnson recorded was caused by a mistake made by an outside Fleet Response specialist.
“ During that interaction, the Fleet Response team provided incorrect guidance, which made it challenging for the Waymo Driver to resume the planned route, and required Waymo’s Roadside Assistance team to complete the journey, ” Waymo said in a statement. statement.
Although the situation was not ideal, the Waymo Driver operated the vehicle safely until Roadside Assistance arrived. The Waymo team was in touch with the rider the entire time, who provided thoughtful and helpful feedback that allowed us to continue to learn and improve the Waymo Driver. Our team has already reviewed the event and improved our operational process. added the statement.
In September 2020, an Arizona woman was killed when she was hit by a self-driving Uber SUV whose safety driver was distracted while watching an episode of the television show The Voice.
The accident was the first recorded fatal accident involving a self-driving car and resulted in Uber ending testing of the technology in Arizona, BBC News reported.