Cruise Pauses All Driverless Operations Nationwide; Will ‘Take Steps to Rebuild Public Trust’

Cruise Pauses All Driverless Operations Nationwide; Will ‘Take Steps to Rebuild Public Trust’
A Cruise AV, General Motor's autonomous electric Bolt EV, in Detroit, on Jan. 16, 2019. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors Co. (GM), has paused all its driverless operations nationwide, the company announced on Oct. 26.

The announcement comes after the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) this week said the firm’s autonomous vehicles (AVs) are “not safe for the public’s operation” and suspended its permits to operate driverless vehicles in the state.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Cruise said it was ending its driverless operations in Phoenix, Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Miami.

“The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust. Part of this involves taking a hard look inwards and at how we do work at Cruise, even if it means doing things that are uncomfortable or difficult,” the company said.

“In that spirit, we have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets while we 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,” it continued.

The suspension follows a series of accidents involving Cruise vehicles, including collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.

In April, GM recalled 300 Cruise AVs in order to update software after one of the driverless vehicles crashed into the back of a municipal San Francisco bus.

NHTSA Probing Cruise

That incident caused moderate damage to the Cruise but did not result in any injuries.

Earlier this month, a woman was left with serious injuries after becoming trapped under a Cruise AV in San Francisco after being hit by another driver, propelling her into the path of one of their autonomous vehicles.

In a statement at the time, Cruise said the autonomous vehicle involved in the incident “aggressively braked before impact and, upon detecting a collision, attempted to pull over to mitigate further safety issues.”

The AV dragged the woman 20 feet across the ground as it attempted to pull over, leaving her pinned under the car as it came to a stop. First responders later arrived at the site and extracted her.

Elsewhere, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced in December that it was investigating Cruise following reports of three crashes in which its vehicles were rear-ended by other cars after the autonomous vehicles braked too fast, leading to two injuries.

Additional Crashes Reported

NHTSA said in an Oct. 20 letter made public Thursday it is probing five additional reports of crashes of Cruise self-driving cars, noting that “inappropriately hard braking results in the Cruise vehicles becoming unexpected roadway obstacles and may result in a collision with a Cruise vehicle.”

However, in its statement Thursday, Cruise said its decision to pause driverless operations nationwide “isn’t related to any new on-road incidents.”

It also said it will continue with supervised autonomous vehicle operations, meaning a human safety driver will be behind the wheel.

“We think it’s the right thing to do during a period when we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to risk, relentlessly focused on safety, and taking steps to rebuild public trust,” the company concluded.

General Motors said in its third-quarter results on Tuesday that it has lost approximately $1.9 billion on Cruise from January through September this year, including $732 million in the third quarter alone.

“We do believe that Cruise has a tremendous opportunity to grow and expand. Safety will be our gating factor as we do that, and continuing to work with the cities that we’re deploying in. So, we’ll have more to say about that at a later date. But rest assured we do have funding plans that will support Cruise’s expansion,” said CEO Mary Barra during Thursday’s earnings call.

Caden Pearson and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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