The California Department of Motor Vehicles declared on Tuesday that they have put a halt on permits for Cruise LLC, a company that creates autonomous vehicles.
The DMV released a statement informing the San Francisco-based subsidiary of General Motors that their permits for deploying autonomous vehicles and conducting driverless testing have been suspended, effective immediately. This decision does not affect the company’s permit for testing with a safety driver.
The DMV reports that the suspensions are due to various factors:
The company and its competitor, Waymo, have been given permission to increase their testing of self-driving taxis in San Francisco.
The CPUC was requested to temporarily halt the authorization and instead adopt a step-by-step approach due to reports of the cars taking incorrect turns, stopping in the middle of the road, and obstructing emergency responders.
This is a request that Cruise agreed to following the decision made by the CPUC.
After the CPUC’s ruling, Cruise accepted the DMV’s request to do the following.
Their fleet of robotaxis in the city was reduced by 50% following two accidents.
One of the incidents involved a vehicle that was in an emergency situation.
The Cruise company encountered increased scrutiny.
after a hit-and-run collision that occurred earlier this month
A person operating a vehicle hit a female pedestrian near the intersection of Market and Fifth streets in downtown San Francisco, causing her to be hit by a self-driving taxi.
The woman sustained serious injuries and the hit-and-run driver is still being sought by authorities.
On Tuesday, Cruise released a statement addressing the accident at the intersection of Market and Fifth Street.
“In the incident being reviewed by the DMV, a human hit and run driver tragically struck and propelled the pedestrian into the path of the AV. The AV braked aggressively before impact and because it detected a collision, it attempted to pull over to avoid further safety issues. When the AV tried to pull over, it continued before coming to a final stop, pulling the pedestrian forward. Our thoughts continue to be with the victim as we hope for a rapid and complete recovery,” the company said.
Cruise stated that they have provided the DMV, CPUC, and NHTSA with information, including video footage. They have also aided law enforcement in identifying the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run.
“We are currently analyzing our teams’ efforts to determine possible improvements in the AV’s reaction to this highly uncommon occurrence,” stated the company.
The DMV stated in their Suspension Order that Cruise did not provide footage of the car’s actions following the initial stop. The company also reportedly did not disclose information about the car’s motion.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Cruise car attempted a pullover maneuver while the victim was underneath it. This information was only brought to their attention by another department. The DMV obtained the extra footage after making a request for it and it was delivered on October 13th.
Last week, the
The administration responsible for ensuring the safety of highways and traffic in the United States is known as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The company declared that it was looking into Cruise following reports of incidents where their self-driving cars were not exercising proper caution when encountering pedestrians on roads.
San Francisco’s city attorney, David Chiu, commended the DMV for their decision and stated that it supports the city’s concerns for public safety. He urged the CPUC to develop a reasonable and well-thought-out strategy for regulating these vehicles.
Chiu expressed his hope that the CPUC, which oversees the authorization for AVs to transport passengers, will acknowledge the present consequences of AVs on San Francisco’s roads. These consequences include causing traffic congestion, disrupting the transportation system, and hindering emergency responders. He also requested that the CPUC reevaluate their previous decision to allow for unrestricted growth of AVs in San Francisco.
According to Phil Koopman, a specialist in self-driving transportation from Carnegie Mellon University, it is not justifiable for companies developing autonomous vehicles to conduct tests without a driver present.
According to Koopman, having a safety driver does not impede progress. The safety driver does not play an active role, ensuring that safety is accounted for while testing continues. Thus, removing the safety driver is not a safety concern, but rather a decision made to appease public perception and satisfy investors.
Prior to the announcement of the suspension, Teamsters and other labor organizations gathered outside Cruise’s San Francisco headquarters to voice their worries about safety and employment.
After the DMV’s ruling, they stated that it was insufficient and untimely.
John Bouchard from Teamsters Local 350 expressed that these issues had been previously brought to their attention. He believes that if they had taken the time to listen or discuss with both the union and city officials beforehand, the outcome would have been significantly different.
The DMV stated that they have given Cruise the necessary instructions for applying to restore their suspended permits. The permits would only be reinstated if the company meets all of the department’s requirements to their satisfaction, according to the agency.