Waymo Autonomous Vehicle Set Ablaze By Crowd In San Francisco

Autonomous vehicles don’t have the best track record when it comes to earning and keeping public trust, even in tech-forward California. General Motors’ Cruise is taking a hiatus testing its vehicles after a high-profile crash and recall, and most recently, a Waymo vehicle was set on fire in San Francisco.

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GM Sued San Francisco for Allegedly Inflated Tax Bill

General Motors’ Cruise has had an exceptionally tough 2023, but the company isn’t going down without a fight or, in this case, a massive lawsuit against the city of San Francisco. GM has paid San Francisco $108 million in taxes and $13 million in interest since 2016 and now wants it back.

Rather than taxing GM and Cruise separately, as the automaker claims it should, the city lumped them together, resulting in higher tax bills.

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QOTD: Can Robotaxis Ever Work?

Yesterday we covered yet another incident involving Cruise, and we linked back to a few other stories we've written recently about problems that Cruise and Waymo are having in San Francisco.

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Driverless Hell: Another Cruise Robotaxi Crashes in San Francisco, This Time Into a Fire Truck

There has been a lot of talk about Tesla owners abusing the cars’ semi-autonomous driving features and crashing into emergency vehicles, but there was at least a driver present in those situations. Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous taxi division, can’t seem to keep its vehicles out of trouble, as they keep crashing into things in their home test city of San Francisco. Last night, a taxi crashed into a fire truck, sending one person to the hospital. 

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Blank Canvas: Ford Ditches Vehicle Subscription Business

Just a short time ago, vehicle subscription services were hailed as the second coming, permitting drivers the freedom to select from a range of vehicles for a single monthly payment. Proponents touted it as a way for manufacturers to display their wares and for buyers to sample a wide array of cars. Opponents said OEMs could potentially lose money by having all these used cars on hand.

It would seem the latter is beginning to prevail with a cadre of companies getting out of the subscription game faster than an aging athlete getting traded to another team. Fair, the $1.2 billion startup company backed by SoftBank, just picked up Canvas from the Ford Motor Company.

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Hooning Temporarily Shut Down the Bay Bridge Over the Weekend

A trio of “driving enthusiasts” briefly shut down San Francisco’s Bay Bridge on Sunday morning after they decided it was the perfect place to do donuts. The vehicle’s involved appear to be a MkIII Toyota Supra and a pair of SN-95 Mustangs. According to the California Highway Patrol, the older of the two Mustangs was nabbed while its New Edge kindred escaped with the Supra — probably to get brunch somewhere across town.

Other drivers were also stopped and issued citations for illegal modifications, presumably because the cops couldn’t prove they helped stop traffic so the lead cars could put on a smoke show.

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San Francisco Business Owner Defies Police To Get His Van Back, Is Lectured By Local Moonbats

A few years ago, I decided to have a heart-to-heart talk with my little brother, the artist currently known as Bark M., about something that had always puzzled me.

“Dude,” I asked, “why did you quit being a performing musician? You were making halfway decent money, you were on the road all the time, you were playing music that you loved, you were hooking up with a different college girl every night. Why would you leave all of that behind and manage a Men’s Wearhouse, for Christ’s sake?” Bark gave me this very sour look and replied, “I got sick of being in a van.”

I had to laugh, because at that point it made perfect sense. I’ve never met anybody else who is as picky as my brother when it comes to travel. Take this past weekend for example. I was on a two-stop Southwest flight that ended up taking ten and a half hours in the air to get me from Oakland to Columbus; he was on a nonstop from LAX to Cincinnati. When I finally landed after my back-of-coach-class ordeal I found that he’d been on Instagram complaining about the quality of his Delta One meal service. If ever there was a man who would give up dating a new 19-year-old every weekend night just so he didn’t have to ride in a van, it would be Bark.

Don’t tell him, but there’s now a company that rents first-rate, brand-new vans to traveling musicians so they can enjoy all the comforts of home while they travel. The company is called Bandago and it’s based in San Francisco. These vans have leather recliners, video games, and giant flatscreens. If you had a touring band, you’d never want to give your “Bandago” back. If you were renting your Bandago so you could perpetrate some crime with a crew of miscreants, you would also not want to give your Bandago back. Which leads us to a real San Francisco treat of a story.

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Couple Buys Exclusive San Francisco Street, Rich Residents Sue to Avoid Paying Rent to Park

This is one of those stories that is bound to provoke a range of emotions. It involves a homeowners’ association, rich and powerful property owners, real-estate speculators and parking. None of those first three are likely to engender sympathy but in this case you sort of have to root for the little guys, the speculators.

San Francisco has some of the most expensive real estate in the United States. Pacific Heights is one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in San Fran and Presidio Terrace, a gated, guarded, private street is one of the priciest locations in that area. It’s across the street from the private Presidio Golf & Concordia Club. Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi used to live on the circular street, as has Sen. Diane Feinstein. When one of the 35 mansions on Presidio Terrace go on the market, they fetch big money. There’s a house currently listed for $14.9 million dollars.

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Ask Jack: Are You Going to San Francisco?

I will forever remember San Francisco as the only city in America where a woman tried to pick me up. While I am sure that the average TTAC reader is a handsome, impeccably progressive feminist ally who is frequently the subject of overtures from empowered womyn, I’m a hideously ugly creature who walks with a pronounced limp and cannot help but maintain an expression of perpetual annoyance. Therefore, 99 percent of the time I have to actively, if not aggressively, sell myself to any potential paramours.

Except, that is, for that one night when I was drunkenly stumbling down some broad boulevard in downtown SF, feeling very sorry for myself, and an attractive woman in her early thirties, dressed for some sort of banking or C-suite work, walked right up to me and said, “Do you know where the nearest Bank of America is?” Even in my inebriated state I could see that it was three hundred feet behind her, and I said as much. “Gosh, thanks!” she chirped. “So… lovely night, huh? What are you doing this evening?”

“Madam,” I replied with all the 18th-century dignity I could muster, straightening my posture and inhaling deeply behind the lapels of my Brioni coat, “I am attempting to forget a woman from Tennessee.” And I trudged past her. Only the next morning did I realize that perhaps she had already known the whereabouts of the bank before asking. Oh well. Ever since then, however, I have assumed that the relatively low number of even remotely conventional men in that particular city drives women to make desperate choices.

Which brings me to today’s San Francisco treat of a question.

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Study Aims To Determine If Ride-sharing Services Are Putting More Cars on The Road

The National Resources Defense Council’s Urban Solution program will study the impact ride-sharing services have on the environment, the group announced Friday. The study will be conducted with the University of California Berkley Transportation Sustainability Research Center to determine what environmental impacts services such as Lyft and Uber have on pollution and congestion.

” … Others wonder if these companies are competing with public transit, substituting for walking and biking trips, or perhaps adding more cars to the road,” wrote Amanda Eaken, a researcher for the NRDC, a non-profit environmental group.

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Here's The Renault Twizy in the US, Hassle-free. No, Really.

Nissan is sending 10 Renault Twizys Nissan New Mobility Concept vehicles to San Francisco as part its citywide ride sharing service Scoot.

The small, all-electric Renault Twizy Scoot Quad will seat two people, have a range of roughly 40 miles and a top speed of 25 mph. The cars will cost $8 per ride or $80 per day to rent.

According to Nissan, the cars are being sent to the ride-sharing service to study transportation in urban areas — and to see if they can sell them anywhere else, probably.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, Rabid 49ers Fan Edition

Like art cars, vehicles that have been turned into team-color-painted, sticker-bedecked sports-team fanmobiles tend to spend their lives just one minor mechanical problem away from that final tow-truck ride. This “whale” Caprice was, we can assume, the life of the tailgate party at freezing-ass Candlestick Park and maybe that new stadium that’s nowhere near San Francisco.

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Falling Light Poles Have Bay Area People Pissed

Decades of (hopefully) dog urine have sped corrosion at the base of Bay Area light poles and four posts have fallen over in a pee-soaked heap, KTVU is reporting (via Boing Boing). No injuries have been reported due to the terrible tinkle tumbles.

City officials have replaced 160 poles on several streets due to corrosion on the aging poles. One collapsed pole Monday damaged a car.

The massive eroding power of urine, and probably thinner metal — which doesn’t have the alliterative power of pee-pee poles plunging — are to blame.

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Ford Unveils Carsharing Pilot Program For Select Ford Credit Consumers

Financing a Ford and looking to bolster your monthly payments? The automaker has an idea: rent your car to others.

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Junkyard Find: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood, Terrifying Ocean Rust Edition

So many rusty Junkyard Finds lately! We had the Krusty Kressida earlier this week, and then a whole week of corroded Coloradans before that. Now we’re returning to San Francisco, where cars parked close to the ocean dissolve in strange top-down fashion thanks to the constant salt spray and chilly fog. I found this once-luxurious Fleetwood sedan in a Bay Area yard a few weeks ago.

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  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars
  • Ede65792611 Got one. It was my Dad's and now has 132K on it. I pay my Mercedes guy zillions of dollars to keep it going. But, I do, and he does and it's an excellent vehicle. I've put in the full Android panel for BT handsfree and streaming with a backup cam.