Skip to main content

Outside Lands traffic: Cruise blames festival for stalled robotaxis

A Cruise vehicle drives down the road in San Francisco.
A Cruise robotaxi waits at a stoplight on the corner of 10th and Division streets in San Francisco on Friday. Earlier in the week, the California Public Utilities Commission approved unlimited expansion for self-driving cars and autonomous vehicles by a 3-1 vote. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

As many as a dozen stalled Cruise autonomous vehicles blocked streets in San Francisco's North Beach and near this weekend's Outside Lands music festival, snarling traffic and frustrating riders barely a day after state regulators voted to allow the unlimited expansion of robotaxi companies.

Social media users posted about one incident late Friday in which about 10 Cruise vehicles appeared to be standing still with their hazard lights flashing, blocking lanes on Vallejo Street near Grant Avenue.

"I got my first call at 10:52 p.m. on Friday night," said San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who fielded complaints about the snafu, which he said lasted for about 20 minutes before Cruise sorted out the situation and got the robotaxis moving again.

On Saturday morning, a social media poster with the handle FriscoLive415 described it as a "complete meltdown."

Cruise responded with an apology, saying that a "large festival posed wireless bandwidth constraints causing delayed connectivity to our vehicles. We are actively investigating and working on solutions to prevent this from happening again."

People trying to leave the Golden Gate Park music festival in robotaxis faced frustrations as well. Two Cruise cars stalled on Balboa Street, with another pair stranded on 30th Avenue––adding to traffic for other cars trying to get in and out of the area.

A police officer successfully managed to take control of one Cruise, but after driving it away from traffic, he failed to gain control of the other vehicles, resulting in a road closure on 30th Avenue between Balboa and Anza streets.

Cruise did not elaborate in response to questions Sunday about whether the technology problems had been resolved.

The incident comes after the California Public Utilities Commission approved unlimited expansion for autonomous vehicle companies Cruise and Waymo in a 3-1 vote Thursday, allowing them to operate across the city 24/7 and charge passengers for the ride.