The visitors don't just come at night. They come all day, right to the end of 15th Avenue, where there's nothing else to do but make some kind of multi-point turn and head out the way they came in. Not long after that car is gone, there will be another, which will make the same turn and leave, before another car shows up and does the exact same thing. And while there are some pauses, it never really stops.
"There are some days where it can be up to 50," King says of the Waymo count. "It's literally every five minutes. And we're all working from home, so this is what we hear."
"We have talked to the drivers, who don't have much to say other than the car is programmed and they're just doing their job," King says.
"There are fleets of them driving through the neighborhood regularly," says Lewin. "And it's been going on for six, eight weeks, maybe more."
Much of the commentary I saw on this was people acting like it was some weird mystery, why would the cars glitch out like this. And an anonymous Waymo PR flack shat out some meaningless verbal diarrhea that amounted to "what we are doing is not technically illegal so you can't stop us."
But it's obvious what's happening here. Someone found a bug where these cars weren't negotiating u-turns properly, maybe even on this very street. So they added this street to the test suite, and they're going to run it again, and again, and again, until they get it right. Which is a completely normal way of debugging things when it's code on your own computer -- but is sociopathic when it's a two-ton killing machine on public streets, non-consensually involving real live humans into your process of debugging your buggy-ass software.
But here's something that might really bake your noodle. What if they aren't actually debugging code? What if this is not an edit-compile-deploy-test cycle at all. What if instead they're just training the network? What if their process is simply, "if we drive cars down this dead-end road ten thousand times, and they don't crash, we're just going to bake all of those runs into the network and call that whole 'u-turn' problem solved."
We're all going to fucking die, is what I'm getting at.