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San Francisco Sues to Get Nuisance Self-Driving Cars Off Its Streets

The AV Club

The city of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit to get those pesky autonomous vehicles off its streets.

The lawsuit was filed in December against a state commission, the Washington Post reports, which made a decision in August that allowed both Google's Waymo and General Motors' Cruise to run expanded driverless taxi services in the city.

The decision allowed both companies to run their services 24/7 without a safety driver behind the wheel citywide.

Now, the city is arguing that it was a reckless decision that put residents in danger.

"As driverless [autonomous vehicle services] expanded in San Francisco, members of the public and city officials identified hundreds of safety incidents, including interference with first responders," the lawsuit reads. "Despite these serious safety incidents, and over the objections of San Francisco, the commission approved requests by Cruise and Waymo to operate."

Poor Performance

It's only the latest in a series of escalations against the companies following a string of alarming safety incidents.

However, the latest lawsuit likely won't impact Cruise. In October, a woman was found trapped and injured underneath a driverless Cruise vehicle, triggering an investigation by regulators. Weeks later, Cruise announced that it's "proactively" pausing driverless operations of its entire fleet across the United States, just days after California yanked its robotaxi permit due to safety concerns.

Weeks later, Cruise laid off almost a quarter of its self-driving car workforce. Then, General Motors slashed its budget.

Meanwhile, Waymo spokesperson Julia Ilina told WaPo that the company is "disappointed" in the city's appeal of the state commission's decision.

"However, we remain confident in our ability to continue safely serving San Francisco’s visitors and residents," she added.

Both companies maintain that their driverless cabs make city streets safer, not more dangerous, citing cherry-picked data that still doesn't offer a comprehensive picture of the situation.

And it's still unclear if the latest lawsuit will be successful in getting the state commission to change its mind about allowing autonomous vehicles to roam free.

"San Francisco believes that autonomous vehicles will be a beneficial part of our city’s future, but in the meantime, while allowing this technology to develop, we must act to protect the safety of our residents and visitors," said city attorney David Chiu in a statement obtained by WaPo.

"Poor AV performance has caused serious problems on San Francisco streets, jeopardizing public safety and emergency response," he added.

More on Cruise: General Motors to Slash Spending on Robotaxis After Disastrous Year