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WEEK OF CONE: Activist group disables driverless taxis in San Francisco by placing cone on bonnets

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Image credit: Tik Tok / Week of Cone

A group of activists in San Francisco, known as the 'Week of Cone,' has taken a unique approach to protest the proliferation of driverless taxi services in the city.

The group has gained support among residents who are frustrated with the malfunctioning of these vehicles and the subsequent traffic congestion they cause.

What initially began as a viral prank on social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok has garnered attention and participation from citizens concerned about the negative impact of robotaxis.

The activists' method of disabling the driverless taxis is surprisingly simple - they place traffic cones on the hoods of the vehicles. This action triggers the car's sensors, leading them to believe there is an obstacle, prompting the vehicle to come to a halt until the cone is removed.

The primary objective of the Week of Cone is to draw attention to the issue and encourage citizens to submit public comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ahead of an upcoming hearing. The hearing will determine whether robotaxi companies, such as Waymo and Cruise, will receive approval to expand their driverless taxi services within the city.

Various complaints have been raised against driverless taxis, including their tendency to impede traffic, hinder public transit operations, and even delay emergency responders in critical situations. Instances have been reported where these vehicles blocked traffic for prolonged periods, causing significant inconvenience to commuters and city residents.

In addition to these concerns, the activists have highlighted the issue of privacy, stating that the robotaxis record data without individuals' consent. This raises significant apprehensions about surveillance, as law enforcement agencies can access the footage captured by self-driving cars with the appropriate legal authorisation in California.

The growing momentum of the Week of Cone protest reflects the mounting public concern regarding the impact and consequences of expanding driverless taxi services in San Francisco. As the CPUC hearing approaches, it remains to be seen how these protests and citizens' voices will influence the decision on the future of robotaxis in the city.


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