Waymo ‘hides’ autonomous cars fearing chaos

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Waymo has temporarily suspended tests of autonomous cars carried out in the city of San Francisco, in the United States, since yesterday (3), fearing a possible wave of protests in the streets, due to the presidential elections, whose investigation is still in progress.

According to The Verge, Alphabet’s company moved its entire autonomous fleet to the neighboring town of Mountain View on Monday night (2). There, the vehicles will be parked in a “safe place”, at first until this Wednesday (4).

“Due to excessive caution and with the safety of our team in mind, we are temporarily suspending management operations in San Francisco, on the 3rd and 4th of November,” a company spokesman told the publication. Also heard on the website, Transdev general manager Chris Cheung, Waymo’s operations provider, confirmed that the company will continue testing on public roads, momentarily.

This is not the first time that Waymo’s self-driving cars have stopped circulating in 2020. One was at the beginning of the new coronavirus pandemic, in March, after complaints from some security drivers. Tests in the region resumed in May, despite the growing number of covid-19 cases in California. In September, there was a stoppage for one day, due to poor air quality, caused by fires on the west coast of the country.

Other companies are also preparing for protests

Several American cities are blocking streets and preparing to stop transport services in case of protests over the results of the presidential election. Therefore, more companies can implement measures similar to those taken by Waymo.

According to CNN, bicycle sharing company Capital Bikeshare has temporarily paused its service around the White House until Wednesday night. Officials in the cities of Portland and Seattle have also determined measures like this, involving scooters, if there are protests in these locations.

Cruise, an autonomous arm of GM, and Spin, a supplier of electric scooters owned by Ford, are other companies that have announced they are prepared to act in times of unrest in the coming days.


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