Shared Mobility

Cruise halts its entire driverless service in US

NEW YORK — Cruise is suspending driverless operations in US. This decision comes days after regulators in California found that its driverless cars posed a danger to public safety. Cruise had recently began transporting passengers throughout San Francisco.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the license for Cruise last week. It didn’t elaborate on specific reasons for its suspension of Cruise’s license. The 24th Oct’23 revocation followed a series of incidents that heightened concerns about the hazards and inconveniences caused by Cruise’s robotaxis.

It is also being investigated by U.S. regulators after receiving reports of potential risks to pedestrians and passengers.

“We have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets. We will take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust,” Cruise wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday night.

The decision to suspend its driverless services isn’t related to any new on-road incidents, Cruise added. Human-supervised operations of Cruise’s autonomous vehicles, or AVs, will continue — including under California’s indefinite suspension.

General Motors Co., which has ambitious goals for Cruise, has taken a significant blow this week. The Detroit automaker had been expecting annual revenue of $1 billion from Cruise by 2025. This would be a big jump from the $106 million in revenue last year when the company lost nearly $2 billion.

It has also tested a robotaxi service in Los Angeles, as well as cities like Phoenix and Austin.

Earlier this month a Cruise robotaxi ran over a pedestrian who had been hit by another vehicle driven by a human. The pedestrian became pinned under a tire of the Cruise vehicle after it came to a stop. In a statement, Cruise said it was continuing to cooperate with state and federal regulators investigating the Oct. 2 accident — and that its engineers are working on way for its robotaxis to improve their response “to this kind of extremely rare event.”

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it was investigating Cruise’s autonomous vehicle division. Reports of incidents where vehicles may not have used proper caution around pedestrians in roadways prompted this investigation. These incidents include instances in crosswalks.

The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation said it received two reports involving pedestrian injuries from Cruise vehicles. It also identified two additional incidents from videos posted to public websites, noting that the total number is unknown.

In December of last year, the NHSTA opened a separate probe into reports of Cruise’s robotaxis that stopped too quickly. The NHSTA also investigated reports of the robotaxis unexpectedly quitting moving, potentially stranding passengers. The investigation started after Cruise AVs reportedly caused three rear-end collisions by braking hard.

According to an Oct. 20 letter that was made public Thursday, since beginning this probe the NHSTA has received five other reports of Cruise AVs unexpectedly breaking with no obstacles ahead. Each case involved AVs operating without human supervision and resulted in rear-end collisions.

“We welcome NHTSA’s questions related to our safety record and operations,” Cruise spokesperson Hannah Lindow said in a statement sent to The Associated Press Friday. “We have cooperated with each of their requests to date as part of the ongoing investigation process and will continue doing so.”

It has previously maintained that its record of driverless miles have outperformed comparable human drivers in terms of safety, notably crash rates.

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