Residents of a dead-end San Francisco street are used to hearing the hum of autonomous vehicles — telling CBS San Francisco they've seen a recent influx of Waymo's self-driving cars turn down 15th Avenue in the city's Richmond District before turning around and leaving again.
The cars — equipped with technology and a human driver in case of emergencies — appear completely baffled as they take in the street and make a multi-point turn to get out of the dead end, CBS San Francisco reported. Not long after one car is gone, another one shows up and does the same thing. And it never really stops, according to the street's residents.
"There are some days where it can be up to 50," Jennifer King told CBS San Francisco. "It's literally every five minutes. And we're all working from home, so this is what we hear."
The company was originally Google's self-driving car project before becoming a separate subsidiary of the tech giant's parent, Alphabet. It launched a ride-hailing program with its self-driving vehicles in San Francisco for "Trusted Testers" in August, reported TechCrunch.
"We have talked to the drivers who don't have much to say other than the car is programmed, and they're just doing their job," King told CBS San Francisco. Neighbors said they don't often see passengers.
"The Waymo Driver was obeying the same road rules that any car is required to follow," the spokesperson said, referring to the company's autonomous driving technology.
"We continually adjust to dynamic San Francisco road rules," said a spokesperson for the company, pointing to the city's Safe Streets initiative as the reason for the cars' seemingly odd behavior.
The Safe Streets program limits vehicle traffic along 30 different residential corridors in the city, including a nearby street. Neighbor Andrea Lewin said the cars' path across one of these corridors into their one-block dead end is "a little bit peculiar."
"There are fleets of them driving through the neighborhood regularly," Lewin told CBS San Francisco. "And it's been going on for six, eight weeks, maybe more."