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California suspends GM’s Cruise testing of driverless cars

Date: October 25, 2023. — California has ordered General Motors‘ (GM) Cruise division stop testing and operating fully autonomous cars on state highways, citing “an unreasonable risk to public safety.” The decision was made following a series of accidents involving Cruise vehicles. One of which pinned a pedestrian beneath the car.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) claimed it has withdrawn Cruise’s authorization to deploy and test autonomous vehicles without a safety driver. It may take over the controls if necessary. The suspension has no effect on it’s vehicles that have a safety driver on board.

The DMV said that Cruise had “misrepresented” information related to the safety of its autonomous technology. It failed to comply with the state’s regulations. Moreover, the agency did not specify what incidents or communications led to the suspension. It said it was based on “the performance of the vehicles”.

Cruise announced in a statement that it is “pausing operations” of its driverless cars. The pause is happening in San Francisco, where Cruise is headquartered. The business stated that it informed state and federal officials following an October 2 accident in which a Cruise vehicle struck a lady. Another car hit the lady and threw her into its path. According to the San Francisco Fire Department, the victim received significant injuries.

Cruise is one of the most prominent companies in the self-driving car industry. The company has bet its future on the technology. GM has committed billions of dollars in Cruise, which also has Honda and Microsoft backing. According to GM CEO Mary Barra, it will produce $50 billion in yearly sales by 2030.

However, the sector has experienced obstacles and setbacks as authorities and customers raised concerns about the safety and reliability of self-driving vehicles. Moreover, in recent years, several deadly accidents involving self-driving cars have happened, prompting investigations and lawsuits.

Cruise said it would keep operating its autonomous vehicles in Phoenix, Arizona, and Austin, Texas, where it has also acquired permits. In addition, the company stated that it will seek to reinstate its permits in California once it met the DMV’s conditions.

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