The fact Cruise Automation deemed its self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs ready for journalists’ opinions is a merit all its own. The cars are far from ready for primetime, however, and Cruise knows this. Still, some issues showed the driverless revolution may be a smidge further out than many like to preach.
Reuters was one of many outlets invited to San Francisco for a 20-minute ride in a self-driving Bolt EV. During the ride, the publication noted the over-cautious nature of the software, sometimes slamming on the brakes if it predicted a pedestrian was prepared to cross in front of the car. The cars also didn’t go very fast with speeds capped around 20 mph.
Perhaps the most humorous instance was a taco truck. During the ride, construction workers ordering a standard curbside lunch brought the self-driving car to a halt. After over a minute of calculating a way to maneuver around the truck, the human driver disengaged the software and simply went around the vehicle. Wired experienced a similar situation when a public bus stopped on a one-way street. The self-driving car spent two minutes trying to figure out how to go around the vehicle, but eventually, the human took over.
That’s not to say the tests were a failure, however. The cars navigated congested streets, roundabouts, and went around plenty of other stopped cars with utmost caution. Still, we likely have some time before self-driving cars put humans in the back seat for good. Damn taco trucks.