Photos Emerge of Self-Driving Cars ‘Tangled Up’ During Storm

The Cruise cars are permitted to autonomously drive in San Francisco, but not in heavy rain.

The storm that passed over San Francisco the night of March 21 was strong enough that it knocked out power and toppled trees.

It also disabled some driverless cars that apparently should not have been out in the storm in the first place.

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The cars involved were Cruise electric autonomous vehicles. Cruise is a largely autonomous subsidiary of General Motors  (GM) – Get Free Report.

A neighborhood resident near an incident involving two of the cars snapped some photos and posted them to Twitter.

“More weather drama in my neighborhood. Two driverless cars didn’t detect 1) the caution tape blocking my street and 2) the down @SFMTA_Muni wires,” wrote @PopRag. “Now they’re tangled up like flies in sticky traps.”

“The DMV is aware of this incident and is in contact with Cruise LLC to better understand the circumstances,” a California Department of Motor Vehicles spokesperson told CNBC

The spokesperson explained that companies applying for a deployment or driverless testing permit must identify their intended operational area and the specified conditions under which the vehicle may operate autonomously.

“Cruise has permits to test and deploy autonomous vehicles in San Francisco all hours of day and night, excluding heavy rain,” the DMV spokesperson said.

Someone operating the Cruise Twitter account replied to @PopRag’s original tweet that used the photos.

“Given the damage caused by last night’s storms, some of our cars briefly entered areas with downed trees or power lines,” tweeted @cruise. “Some were able to proceed autonomously, but where needed we immediately dispatched teams to remove the vehicles.”

A company spokesperson told SFGATE that Cruise’s vehicles do not “currently operate in snow, sleet, heavy rain or fog.”

The Bay Area storm March 21 was referred to as a bomb cyclone. It was said to have looked “apocalyptic,” according to CBS Bay Area.

Autonomous vehicles have been the subject of some controversy recently. For example, The Dawn Project ran an advertisement during the Super Bowl in February criticizing the safety of Elon Musk’s Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report Full Self-Driving vehicles.

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