It’s an odd time to be a driverless car

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The robotaxis now hitting American streets are troubling and amazing all at once.

By Caroline Mimbs Nyce

On a sweltering San Francisco day, I’m in one of Cruise’s self-driving vehicles, Charcuterie. I’m recording myself in the back seat, and someone in the next car is recording both of us.

I’m sitting in the driver’s seat, and William Riggs is sitting next to me. He’s a professor at UC San Francisco who specializes in self-driving vehicles. Both of the front seats are empty. The car’s wheel slowly shifts as we cruise down a busy road near Golden Gate Park, and I catch a glimpse of the stranger filming us.

We’re stopped at the red light, and Riggs rolls his window down to chat with me.

“Don’t put your hands and arms in the car,” a pleasant robotic voice tells me.


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