Confused self-driving cars are flooding a normally quiet dead-end street in San Francisco

·2 min read

The residents of a relatively quiet neighborhood in San Francisco are seeing an influx of self-driving visitors.

A steady stream of automated Waymo cars has reportedly been flowing into a dead end in the city's Richmond District, disrupting routes for passengers and forcing them to turn the car around themselves, local news outlet KPIX reported.

And based on what neighbors are saying, it's not just one or two vehicles coming by.

“There are some days where it can be up to 50,” nearby resident Jennifer King told KPIX. “It’s literally every five minutes. And we’re all working from home, so this is what we hear.”

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In this file photo taken on May 08, 2019, Waymo self-driving car pulls into a parking lot at the Google-owned company's headquarters in Mountain View, California.
In this file photo taken on May 08, 2019, Waymo self-driving car pulls into a parking lot at the Google-owned company's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

This isn't just a recent development, either, one resident says.

"It’s been going on for six, eight weeks, maybe more," Andrea Lewin told KPIX.

A Waymo spokesperson said the issue is a result of new road rules in the area that are part San Francisco's "Safe Streets" program, which limits traffic on certain residential streets. The dead end frequented by Waymo vehicles feeds right into a street currently listed on the city's "Safe Streets" list, which could be the cause of all the U-turns.

The cars use what Waymo calls "lidar" sensors, which give the vehicle a picture of its surroundings. So, when it encounters something like a dead end, these tools would presumably command the vehicle to stop.

The Alphabet-owned company expanded its self-driving services to San Francisco in August, encouraging residents to help test its vehicles as part of its "Trusted Tester" program.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Waymo in San Francisco: Self-driving cars swarm quiet dead-end street