Through the Looking Glass: Are robot taxis safe? What happens when you have an army of AI systems equipped with weapons that killed 42,915 people in the US in 2021? Can they turn against us? This is what some Reddit users jokingly thought of after a group of driverless taxis gathered on a city street and blocked traffic for several hours.

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On Tuesday, a test group of Cruise robot taxis in San Francisco both stopped and stopped traffic on city streets for several hours at the same time. The Autonomous Collective ceased all functions for unknown reasons and the human engineers had to go out to bring the machines back manually.

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Cruise is a joint risk between General Motors and Honda. The city of San Francisco approved testing of self-driving cars, and testing began in February. Starting last week, Cruise began commercial testing, but the vehicles are extremely limited for safety reasons.

level 5 (fully autonomous) taxis can only pay fares between 10 pm and 6 am on “certain streets”. They can only operate in clear weather and can travel no faster than 30 miles per hour.

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At least five Cruise vehicles were involved in the lockdown, and the janitor had to miss the entire block. Typically, sweeper blocking fines are $76 per car, but it’s unclear how the city is treating autonomous vehicles or if Cruz will receive any fines.

It’s also unclear how all the machines came together in the first place. Cruise Representative apologized for the incident, but cannot explain what happened.

“Earlier this week, we had an issue that caused some of our vehicles to cluster together,” a spokesperson for TechCrunch said. “While the issue has been resolved and no passengers were harmed, we apologize to anyone who caused the inconvenience.”

The incident casts doubt on Cruise’s commercial agenda. Will she return to safe drivers for a while? Will it return to the testing phase or continue to offer rates? Will the City allow Level 5 operations to continue after this event?

A lot probably depends on how quickly engineers can figure out what went wrong. I hope it wasn’t that one redditor in jest proposed.

“The first thing I tell my colleague is that they are coming together to kill us,” wrote Seansinha. “It was quite a surreal event.”