July 24, 2024

Archie Wertheim

Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership

GM’s Cruise Loses Its Self-Driving License in San Francisco After a Robotaxi Dragged a Person

2 min read
GM's Cruise Loses Its Self-Driving License in San Francisco After a Robotaxi Dragged a Person

Cruise says the vehicle then stopped again. Emergency responders arrived soon after, according to TV station NBC Bay Area, and the San Francisco Fire Department said the victim was “extricated from beneath the vehicle using rescue tools.” The department said she was transported to the hospital with multiple traumatic injuries. The human driver of the vehicle that initially struck the woman has not been caught.

Last week, the top US road safety regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, opened an investigation into Cruise’s autonomous driving system, based on at least four reported incidents in which Cruise vehicles collided with or got close to pedestrians and pedestrian crosswalks, including the October 2 crash

Forghani, the Cruise spokesperson, says the company has shared video and other information related to the incident with the California DMV and NHTSA officials. “Our teams are currently doing an analysis to identify potential enhancements to the [autonomous vehicle]’s response to this kind of extremely rare event,” she wrote in a statement.

In August, California’s DMV asked Cruise to cut in half the number of self-driving vehicles operating in the city after its robotaxis were involved in a series of crashes, including one in which a Cruise vehicle collided with a fire truck that ran a red light on the way to an emergency.

Even before Cruise and its leading competitor, Alphabet’s Waymo, received permission from the state taxi regulator to operate all-day paid rides in San Francisco, both companies received criticism from city residents, emergency responders, and labor advocates for incidents in which the technology froze in or impeded city traffic.

In August, the San Francisco Fire Department told state officials that its employees experienced at least 55 incidents with self-driving cars since the beginning of 2023, including a handful in which fire officials report the cars delayed emergency responders. In one incident, worried fire personnel broke the windows of a Cruise vehicle in an attempt to prevent it from driving onto an active fire scene. Robotaxis have also delayed city transit buses and streetcars. Cruise said earlier this month that it has improved the way its technology responds to emergency vehicles and situations.

Updated 10-24-2023, 8:45 pm EDT: This story was updated with information about the CPUC suspending Cruise’s permit to carry passengers.

Updated 10-24-2023, 6:05 pm EDT: This story was updated with additional details of the DMV’s suspension and appeal’s process, and additional comment from Cruise.

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