back to article Cruise self-driving taxi gets wheels stuck in wet cement

Just days after Cruise won the right to operate completely computer-controlled taxi rides in San Francisco at all hours, one of its units has got stuck in wet cement. Reports coming from both local media and social media on Tuesday show the front tires of a Cruise car sunk deeply into a drying part of fresh-patched road at a …

  1. Andy Non Silver badge

    "We apologize to those who were impacted"

    Sooner rather than later, that platitude may be an unfortunate choice of words to use with these self-driving vehicles.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: "We apologize to those who were impacted"

      It would be hard hitting news..

      /s

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: "We apologize to those who were impacted"

        All rumours to the contrary will be squashed.

    2. Fred Dibnah

      Re: "We apologize to those who were impacted"

      Stop running them down.

  2. jonha
    WTF?

    Well...

    As much as this will create mirth for certain readers, I am pretty sure that human drivers have done, do and will do this all the time... but it doesn't get reported (or if so, then just in the local papers' "Mirth" section).

    1. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      "Just as stupid as a human driver" is not the pitch for self-driving vehicles, though. They're supposed to be safer. If they're actually, as seems to be the case, much worse at actually navigating city traffic (and with the bonus of converting cell network congestion into traffic jams), what's the point? Just to remove more jobs from the market?

      1. MrXonTR
        FAIL

        Re: Well...

        The description of the concrete incident reminds of the principle of fail-safe, on perhaps the lack of it. Instead of assuming a road is a road until you see specific signs like a red "STOP" one, you assume that nothing is a road until proven otherwise. Is it flat but wet? Either not a road or a dangerously slippy road. Is it wet and raining? Then probably acceptable to ignore the previous condition but slow down anyway.

        The "10 car pile up" was actually "backed up" because this was fail-safe. There wasn't enough bandwidth and so the cars chose to not risk it. Although I am confused what they need all that bandwidth for. Are they streaming video to a dark room full of preteens trying to score 1000 points for hitting a pedestrian? (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105629/)

        1. usbac Silver badge

          Re: Well...

          "Are they streaming video to a dark room full of preteens trying to score 1000 points for hitting a pedestrian? (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105629/)"

          Not yet. Wait until some teenage hackers get into one of these companies systems...

        2. Test Man

          Re: Well...

          Yeah I would have presumed that the majority of the operations of the self-driving features would be done on-board, and therefore any bandwidth issues would merely stop real-time reporting back to the mothership, or the ability to cope with more advanced driving (and still leave it with the capability to drive around at least).

        3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          'pile up'

          Yeah, we meant a back up of traffic, not pile up. It's fixed now. Don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot anything wrong.

          C.

        4. Orv Silver badge

          Re: Well...

          They apparently need it to plan a route, and if they can't route, they just stop wherever they are.

    2. PRR Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Well...

      > I am pretty sure that human drivers have done, do and will do this all the time... but it doesn't get reported

      There are no "local papers" anymore; Google sees all. Top of the hits for "car in concrete" minus this event:

      Car drives into Fort Dodge construction zone, gets stuck in ...

      Oops! Woman cited for driving rental car into freshly poured ... — The driver reportedly misconstrued the freshly poured concrete for a turn lane, and she drove directly into wet concrete.

      Car stuck in wet concrete in construction zone in Clark County

      {premeditation} Can you drive cars over newly poured concrete right away?

      Vehicle drives onto freshly poured concrete - Aug 6, 2021 — A driver's vehicle got stuck in wet concrete on Southbound I-275 near Eureka Road. Car gets stuck in wet concrete in downtown Cleveland ...

      2018 — The car was submerged in wet concrete; workers dug around the vehicle for minutes before pulling the driver to safety.

      Washington woman gets stolen car stuck in fresh concrete ...

      2022 — A driver caused a major setback in Lakewood, Washington, on Monday after driving a stolen car into fresh concrete that crews had poured at a ...

      Driver in stolen car stopped by wet concrete in Lakewood

      2022 — — Lakewood City Inspector Chris Phippen said he watched a woman drive through nearly 100 feet of wet concrete, get stuck in the freshly poured ...

      Car gets stuck in freshly-poured concrete in Grand Forks 2021 — GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A car had to be removed by a construction tractor Tuesday morning after getting stuck in wet concrete ...

      Woman gets allegedly stolen car stuck in fresh concrete 2022 — Fresh concrete snares stolen Mini Cooper, WA cops say. A kid and whiskey were inside car ... The allegedly intoxicated ...

      PHOTOS: Car drives into wet concrete in Springfield 2023 — DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A driver found himself in a sticky situation after driving through a ...

      Car drives into fresh concrete at site of water main break

      2020 — — Drivers who take Lahser will have to deal with road construction for a little while longer, after a car drove into fresh concrete.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        That's an awful lot of people driving through fenced off areas, barriers and/or lines of cones. Or are the rules different in the US (or at least some parts), where road repairs/construction is managed very differently such that it's possible to mistakenly drive into the fresh concrete/tarmac/asphalt?

        At least a few of those appear to be stolen cars, at least one by a drunk thief, so probably not the sharpest knives in the drawer were driving them, but still, after 30 years on the road in my current job averaging around 50-60,000 miles per year, I can't say i've ever come across roadworks so badly signed, marked out and coned/barriered off that someone would accidentally drive into wet concrete. Not saying it's never happed here mind, I just can't see how it might happen :-)

  3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Context..

    Other blunders from Cruise this week include allegedly almost hitting two women accompanying two children

    And this, kids, is a lesson how removing context from a sentence can really mess with your interpretation..

    :)

  4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Having some empathy for the machines...

    I would really want to see what obstructions and warnings were in place to prevent any driver from inadvertently paddling in concrete before I blamed the driver, whether human or Johnny Cab.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Having some empathy for the machines...

      Follow the links in the article? This one may feed into your doubts that *enough* cones were warning off drivers?

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Having some empathy for the machines...

        Not really, no. None of the pictures linked show the approach to that area.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Having some empathy for the machines...

          Agreed, but the paucity of cones visible in the photos sort of indicates they didn't use all that many. In that situation, I'd expect there to be cones no more than a few feet apart down the length of the works. That photo implies the cones are something like two car lengths apart, at least. I'd also like to see the approach to the works too, just to confirm my suspicions :-)

    2. aks

      Re: Having some empathy for the machines...

      It would be easier to mislead a machine than a person into this kind of error. I foresee deliberate sabotage being part of our future, sadly.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: deliberate sabotage being part of our future

        It's already started. There are people working out how to print images that bork AI.

        Shades of the "impossible shape" they were going to zap the Borg with in ST:TNG when Picard became Locotus

      2. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Having some empathy for the machines...

        People have been "sabotaging" the self-driving taxis just by putting a traffic cone on the hood. The top of the cone blocks the camera view.

  5. Howard Sway Silver badge

    contacted Cruise to get a better understanding of the incident

    "Our programmers are taking concrete steps to fix this problem, to ensure that any deficiencies are not set in stone, and all our robotaxis will be fixed by the end of the week."

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: contacted Cruise to get a better understanding of the incident

      “…we will consider all these incidents in aggregate, and point out that there’s probably mortar come.”

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stay well away ...

    "... a 10 car pile up following the Outside Lands music festival. Cruise explained that the festival created wireless bandwidth constraints that delayed connectivity for its vehicles."

    Err, the basic safety of the vehicle depends on having a good wifi signal (or even a good radio signal of some undefined kind)? That sounds like dangerous engineering to me! There's no chance they could guarantee it where I live in the UK, for example.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: stay well away ...

      The WiFi is so the passenger can tell it where to go.

      The basic safety of the car depends on it stopping when it doesn't understand what is going on. But that's not the WiFi.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        That's not what I understand when I read "wireless bandwidth constraints that delayed connectivity".

        To me, that means that, if the vehicle cannot connect to the mothership in a timely fashion, it's ability to continue is heavily impacted.

        That, in my mind, eliminates any possibility of using that kind of vehicle outside of a well-covered city.

        No trips to the countryside are possible.

        1. localzuk Silver badge

          Well, yes, that's why these sorts of vehicles are only licensed for use in specific cities.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Maybe someone could suggest plugging in an 8GB SD cars with a street map on it? That's the storage on my SatNav, which includes all of the UK and Western Europe roads in detail and much of the rest of the worlds main roads. I'm sure the system could cope with "knowing" where it is by matching the GPS co-ordinates with the street map and all those other "location awareness" sensors bristling around the bumpers, windscreen and on the roof for a short while.

    2. Marty McFly Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: stay well away ...

      Excellent information to disclose as an excuse. Now all the hackers have a vulnerability to explore & exploit.

  7. vtcodger Silver badge

    Thrilled...we're thrilled

    GM must be absolutely thrilled by the abundant free publicity their Cruise unit is getting. After all There's no such thing as bad publicity so long as they spell your name right< (attributed to P.T.Barnum)

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Thrilled...we're thrilled

      “The only thing worse in life than being talked about, is not being talked about”, as Oscar Wilde (almost, allowing for my poor memory) said.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        That seems to be exactly what President Macron thinks.

        1. Potemkine! Silver badge

          Works also for all the politicians from all over the political spectrum

  8. David Nash

    Wet concrete

    Was it not coned-off? A human wouldn't necessarily know either if it was not coned. And if it was coned the issue is more serious - "AI car ignored cones"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Wet concrete

      A human would be tempted to write their name in it with a stick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wet concrete

        or, more likely, draw a knob

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Morons when will they learn to get a life without driving and sitting in cars.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "when will they learn to get a life"

      ...asks the internet troll.

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: "when will they learn to get a life"

        In what way am i troll ?

        Im a troll for pointing out how much of your life is wasted sitting in a car ?

        Am i troll because bosses wastes hours every week to come to offices when people could be working from home ?

        Is there a special reward for wasting hundreds of hours in a car every year for no money and achieving nothing ?

        Hey if driving is so wonderful why dont. you drive double the time tomorrow for the rest of the year ?

  11. mickaroo

    the website formerly known as Twitter

    May we abbreviate this to TWeFKAT?

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