Autonomous vehicles have come a long way in the last several years, but every now and then, something pops up showing they have a way to go. A YouTuber called “JJRicks Studios” has been making videos of his rides using the Waymo autonomous taxi service in Chandler, Arizona, since it’s been available. Those who don’t live in areas served by the autonomous taxis can watch fully autonomous rides and rides with a safety driver behind the wheel through his videos.
Recently, he recorded a video that shows significant issues that still need to be overcome with autonomous vehicles. Apparently, the Waymo fully autonomous van was confused by a construction zone and blocked traffic and reportedly had to be rescued. The video, which is posted below, shows the autonomous van’s troubles starting at about 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
The van wanted to turn right on a multilane street, but the closest right-hand lane was closed. That left the van unable to make a decision, and it simply stopped and blocks traffic. Roadside assistance was dispatched to save the van, but the van started up and completed the turn before the help arrived.
However, it quickly became confused again and stopped between lanes blocking traffic. The autonomous van then thought it was a good idea to backup and completely blocked the lane and continued to block claim even after construction cones were removed.
The van reportedly stopped again a few blocks later, blocking traffic and requiring roadside assistance to be sent out. The human rider inside the van attempted to wave traffic around. Eventually, the roadside assistance operator could get in the van and get it safely out of traffic. The video is interesting and can be seen above.