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The future sure seems dumb…
A trip to San Francisco in the past has involved enjoying the "eternal spring" weather, seeing The Rock, and maybe grabbing a tasty sourdough treat. However, the famous island is increasingly becoming a testbed for radical social policies, including testing out fully-autonomous cars. With its proximity to Silicon Valley and well-mapped grid of streets, its an obvious place to test out what tech evangelists claim will be a future utopia, but incidents like this one where an empty autonomous car ran from some San Francisco cops shows the dark underbelly of these flighty claims.
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It seems police officers pulled the Chevy Bolt over for not having its headlights turned on at night. We expect such behavior from a newbie driver or maybe someone who's intoxicated, so that doesn't speak well for the Cruise fleet vehicle, which is part of a self-driving taxi service. The thought of having EVs like this one just driving themselves around cities without their lights on, running from the cops, and probably crashing into Mustangs as they leave car meets just sends shivers down our spines.
In the video, which was taken by a bystander, the all-electric Chevy Bolt only ran from the police for a short distance. Some tech apologists are arguing the car was moving to a safer spot. Yeah, you try pulling over in one area, then moving your car once an officer gets out and tries to approach, then explain you were doing that for everyone's safety.
As a total aside, we can't believe the police in San Francisco are still running Crown Vics. Seriously, if there's any evidence the department there is underfunded, this is it. Someone should buy a bunch of autonomous Bolts for the cops to chase down other autonomous Bolts.
The cops seem genuinely confused that there's nobody inside the car. Even with the different autonomous fleets running around San Francisco, that shows these officers aren't encountering them that much, if at all. Now, you could read that one of two ways, depending on what you think about the possibilities of an autonomous future. Whichever way you want to think about it, these kinds of incidents could be on the rise as fully-autonomous technology becomes more common, especially in cities like San Francisco. We just can't wait for the first fully-autonomous high-speed freeway chase.
Check out the video for yourself.