“California suspends cruise autonomous vehicle testing after pedestrian incident”

Robotaxi (carscoops.com)

Robotaxi (carscoops.com)

“Safety concerns lead to immediate suspension of cruise’s testing permits in California”

Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company, faces a suspension of its permits for testing self-driving cars in California following a recent incident where one of its vehicles hit a pedestrian. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issued an “Order of Suspension,” citing safety concerns.

The incident occurred on October 2, 2023, at approximately 9:30 p.m. in San Francisco, near 5th and Market Streets. A Cruise autonomous vehicle struck a pedestrian, running over them despite making a hard braking attempt. Shockingly, the vehicle then tried to perform a “pullover maneuver” while the pedestrian was trapped beneath it. The vehicle reached a speed of 7 mph and traveled 20 feet with the pedestrian trapped underneath, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

DMV officials met with Cruise after the incident and reviewed onboard camera footage. However, the footage provided by Cruise only showed the initial hard-braking maneuver. The DMV later learned of the vehicle’s subsequent actions during discussions with another government agency. Cruise eventually shared the full footage with the DMV on October 13.

The DMV’s decision to suspend Cruise’s permits is based on the belief that Cruise’s autonomous vehicles “are not safe for the public’s operation” and “may lack the ability to respond safely and appropriately during incidents involving a pedestrian, potentially putting pedestrians and others at risk of further injury.” The suspension is further justified by Cruise’s initial failure to provide the complete video footage, which hindered the DMV’s ability to effectively and promptly assess the safety of its vehicles.

In response, Cruise expressed that their autonomous vehicles are developed to save lives and emphasized that, in the incident under review, a human hit-and-run driver struck the pedestrian, pushing them into the path of the autonomous vehicle. The vehicle braked aggressively upon collision detection and attempted to pull over to prevent further safety risks. However, it continued briefly before coming to a complete stop, pulling the pedestrian forward.

Cruise had received approval to operate its robotaxi service in San Francisco around the clock in August. The company, however, was compelled to reduce its operating fleet by 50% just one week later, due to two separate crashes.