It may feel like an ordinary week around the world, but in San Francisco, it’s “The Week of Cone” for a group of activists fighting against self-driving cars, according to Futurism.
The activists are taking to the streets to disable self-driving cars owned by Waymo and Cruise, and they’re doing it in the most hilarious way possible: by placing a cone on the car’s hood.
The cone of shame is an easy and effective way to block the car’s LIDAR device, which is what it uses to measure distance. Without this, the car shuts down and cannot continue driving.
The activist group, Safe Street Rebel, chose this week because there will be a state commission panel that will decide whether or not self-driving cars will expand in their city. The activists are against this expansion because they feel there are already too many cars clogging up San Francisco’s streets. They also feel that self-driving cars are dangerous to pedestrians and that they often block buses and emergency vehicles from their important routes.
The creators of the self-driving cars are confident that the vehicles are safe, and that they will help reduce traffic and collisions. However, activists are concerned that the companies are only designed for profit, and that they are making it harder for transit companies to stay afloat.
Currently, a ride in a Waymo or Cruise vehicle costs roughly $1 per minute, whereas a single ride on San Francisco’s Muni transit is only $2.50 and is good for 120 minutes. Alternatively, residents can walk or bike around the city, which helps alleviate traffic congestion and reduces the amount of harmful car emissions.
Eventually, someone figured out that the self-driving cars can be disabled if you place a cone on the hood. Activists all over San Francisco have been placing cones on top of these cars (while there are no passengers inside) in an effort to protest the overabundance of cars in their city.
Safe Street Rebel activists have taken to social media to share how to disable the self-driving cars. All you have to do is find a traffic cone, which is easy since they are all over the city. Then just place it on the hood of the car. Activists say that it’s fun, and anyone can do it.
The cone blocks the car’s LIDAR device, which is what it uses to measure distance.
When compared to residents in Arizona, the Safe Street Rebel activists are much more peaceful in their protests against self-driving cars. Over the past few years, Arizona has been a testing ground for the Waymo and Cruise cars, allowing residents to travel through downtown areas without having to deal with the awkward, forced chit-chat with an Uber or Lyft driver.
However, some residents have violently attacked the cars, and in some cases have slashed their tires and shattered their windshields.
Given the choice between a self-driving car or a teenager with a cell phone, it’s hard to decide which is more dangerous. Hopefully, with continued testing we will see self-driving cars that really do make our planet safer and more efficient.