What just happened? Two days after the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended its permit to operate driverless taxis in the state, Cruise has announced that it is pausing all driverless operations nationwide as it looks to “rebuild public trust.”
General Motors subsidiary Cruise has ended driverless operations in Austin, Houston, and Phoenix, as well as Miami, where it only launched yesterday. The company said in a post on X that it will be taking time to examine its “processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust.”
Cruise cars won’t be disappearing from the roads entirely, though. The company said operations in which a human safety supervisor is behind a vehicle’s wheel will continue.
(1/3) 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.
– cruise (@Cruise) October 27, 2023
Following several accidents involving the cars, including a recent incident in which a pedestrian was dragged and trapped under the wheels of a self-driving vehicle, California’s DMV revoked Cruise’s permits to test and deploy vehicles on public streets in the state earlier this week. The agency also accused Cruise of misrepresenting the safety of its vehicles.
Earlier this month, a Cruise vehicle was involved in an incident that saw a San Francisco pedestrian hit by two cars. According to the company, the woman was struck by a human-driven car, hurling her in front of a driverless taxi that ran her over and stopped with its rear tire still on her leg.
The DMV revealed that the Cruise vehicle attempted a pullover maneuver after it stopped while the pedestrian was still under the wheels, dragging her another 20 feet while reaching about 7 mph. The DMV said Cruise did not reveal the pullover maneuver in its meeting with California Highway Patrol the day after the accident, providing only the on-board camera footage that showed the initial collision.
The latest accident happened just a few weeks after Cruise agreed to cut its fleet of San Francisco robotaxis in half at the request of the DMV after one of its vehicles collided with a fire truck.
The California Public Utilities Commission also suspended the license allowing Cruise to charge passengers for robotaxi rides.
Cruise said that the decision to pause driverless operations nationwide isn’t related to any new on-road incidents. The company had a peak of 400 robotaxis across the US earlier this month
According to TechCrunch, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt told staff on Wednesday that the company had not paused operations elsewhere besides California and gave no indication that it was planning to. He did say that Cruise would be re-evaluating how it discloses information to regulators to ensure it is clearly communicated.