Cruise broadens suspension of its self-driving cars’ operations

Autonomous-vehicle company Cruise said Tuesday it has suspended all supervised and manual operations of its self-driving cars and expanded an independent safety probe following a crash involving a pedestrian last month in San Francisco.

Cruise, a unit of General Motors Co.
said in a blog post that it is expanding an operational pause to include autonomous cars that have human monitors behind the wheel — affecting about 70 vehicles nationwide — in order to “rebuild public trust while we undergo a full safety review.”

Last month, Cruise suspended all of its fully autonomous operations — involving about 950 cars — following an Oct. 2 crash in San Francisco, in which a Cruise driverless car ran over a pedestrian who had first been hit by another car. After briefly stopping, the Cruise car drove about 20 feet in an attempt to pull over, dragging the victim, who suffered critical injuries, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the Chronicle, Cruise allegedly withheld portions of video footage of the crash from authorities.

Quickly after that, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s robotaxis from operating in San Francisco, citing safety concerns. Cruise has also been operating driverless cars in Austin, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix.

From October: Opinion: Robotaxis remain a pipe dream and greedy companies have only themselves to blame

On Tuesday, Cruise said it plans to expand the scope of a third-party, independent investigation into the root cause of the Oct. 2 incident “to include a comprehensive review of our safety systems and technology.”

Cruise said it will continue to operate its driverless cars in “closed-course training environments” and will “maintain an active simulation program in order to stay focused on advancing AV technology.”

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