San Francisco’s Hot Tourist Attraction: Driverless Cars


When David De Clercq traveled to San Francisco last year, he had a few musts on his itinerary: Go to Alcatraz. Try new restaurants. And ride in a self-driving car.

Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles or, colloquially, robotaxis, have been driving the streets of San Francisco in some form since 2009 and have been operating commercially since last August. The cars are also shaping up as the city’s latest tourist attraction.


Mr. De Clercq, 42, who splits his time between New Jersey and Sardinia, where he owns restaurants and bars and rents villas, is an avid traveler.

“I love exploring and doing new things,” he said. “I knew that I definitely wanted to get a ride while I was in town.”

Conversations abound on Reddit and X, with visitors seeking advice on how to secure a ride while in San Francisco, or be well positioned to spot a driverless car on the go.

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