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Emerging Technology

Green Lights Turn Red For Hours As Autonomous Cars Cause Major Traffic Jam!

By TD NewsDesk

TD NewsDesk

Updated on Fri, Sep 29, 2023

Overall Rating
Picture this: It's been a long, exhausting workday and you're desperately trying to reach home, relax and binge on Netflix. Instead of a swift journey home, you're trapped in a seemingly endless traffic jam. As the clock ticks on, frustration builds and you discover the cause of your misery – a row of autonomous vehicles frozen like statues at the interchange.

Welcome to a Monday night in Houston, where the #MondayBluesGotReal, as the talk of the town - self-driving cars – caused a major snarl.

A few phone calls from the bewildered citizens received by the Houston Police stirred chaos. According to a report, a line of self-driving Cruise-affiliated Chevy Bolts had come to an abrupt halt at a malfunctioning intersection in the Montrose neighborhood. Astonished witnesses couldn't resist sharing the pictures of the three autonomous vehicles parked side by side in the northbound lane of Montrose Boulevard, right at the Hawthorne Street junction, holding the city hostage and leaving the traffic lights stuck in an eternal four-way red standoff. (Yeah, that sounds like a wheel-y chaotic Monday evening!)

Among the spectators was Montrose resident Simon Newton, who arrived at the scene just as the northbound Cruise cars had mysteriously vanished. However, a shocking sight was how the police were knocking on the window of a solitary driverless car that had chosen to stop in a southbound lane. This is how Newton explained this experience, "The police were tapping on the glass and asking the car to move on. All the other human-driven cars could respond to the police. The Cruise vehicles can't do that."
On the other hand, Cruise, the autonomous vehicle manufacturer, has a different perspective on the peculiar incident.

What Did Cruise Say?

According to a Cruise representative, the vehicles in question were unoccupied and the company had protocols to collaborate with new market responders to handle such scenarios. They stated, "Our vehicles were stopped at an intersection where the lights were not cycling and showed all red. While some vehicles took a little time to safely navigate the intersection, all vehicles were able to clear the intersection autonomously. Safety is embedded in everything we do, and our vehicles are designed to adhere to traffic signals and follow rules of the road."

While the Montrose incident was undeniably bizarre, it pales compared to recent encounters with Cruise cars in Austin, Texas. Just earlier this month, something similar happened in Austin, when bystanders were left astonished as they witnessed a traffic jam on San Gabriel Street, caught within the row of Cruise autonomous vehicles. Reports highlighted how two Cruise cars appeared to be locked in a driverless standoff, their mechanical eyes fixed upon each other, nose-to-nose, in the same traffic lane. #CruisecarsAndChaos

In a nutshell, these two incidents surface as minor hiccups in the growing saga of autonomous vehicles. These incidents are gentle reminders that while the promise of self-driving cars is alluring, there are still roadblocks to be worked out on the way to a fully automated future.

As technology advances, the question remains: can we trust machines to navigate our world seamlessly, or will they occasionally leave us stranded in a Monday night traffic nightmare? Do you think leading providers of autonomous vehicles should integrate features to to enable humans to take over?

Feel free to park your comments in the comments section below!

First published on Fri, Sep 29, 2023

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