Journalist documents wild ride inside Waymo self-driving car in SF

ByLyanne Melendez and Juan Carlos Guerrero KGO logo
Friday, June 30, 2023
Waymo self-driving demo turns into wild ride for SF journalist
ABC7 News reporter Lyanne Melendez tried out one of Waymo's self-driving vehicles for the first time. Watch as the ride takes a strange turn.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Ever wonder what it's like to ride in a self-driving car? Watch the video player above as we take you on a test drive. It was ABC7 News reporter Lyanne Melendez's first time in one of these vehicles. And it's one she certainly will never forget!

They seem to be everywhere in San Francisco. Those white Waymo cars with the funny looking machinery on the roof have been driving around San Francisco for some time without a driver behind the wheel. And soon, you may see even more of them.

On July 13, the California Public Utilities Commission will vote on whether to allow Waymo and Cruise to operate as taxis 24 hours a day in San Francisco.

VIDEO: SFFD chief is fed up with robotaxis interfering with firefighters on the job

San Francisco fire chief says driverless robotaxis are causing major problems at emergency scenes as they interfere with first responders on the job.

Currently, Waymo and Cruise face limits as to who may ride inside the vehicle.

But not everyone is welcoming robo-taxis with open arms.

San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson complained that self-driving taxis have run over a fire hose while crews were battling a fire and blocked a fire truck from exiting a fire station.

In early June, a resident in the South of Market area documented how a Cruise vehicle stalled for at least two hour on 9th Street during the morning rush hour.

VIDEO: Video shows Cruise driverless car stalled on SF street for hours

Two self-driving Waymo cars stalled out in the middle of two separate intersections just blocks away from each other in downtown SF following the Pride parade.

In January, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency sent a letter to the CPUC in opposition of allowing Cruise and Waymo to operate virtually unrestricted in the city.

The SFMTA has documented many cases of stalled or confused robo-taxis blocking roads and bus lanes.

At a CPUC hearing last week, representatives from Waymo and Cruise said their self-driving vehicles have a better safety record than cars driven by humans, but refused to share more expansive data on incidents involved their vehicles.

That has left many people wondering just how ready robo-taxis are to start shuttling passengers around San Francisco with little restrictions.

Watch the video player above as ABC7 News reporter Lyanne Melendez documents her first experience inside a Waymo self-driving car.

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