California DMV Suspends Cruise Robotaxis Over Safety Concerns

California DMV Suspends Cruise Robotaxis Over Safety Concerns

The California DMV suspended GM-owned Cruise driverless taxis from roadways on Tuesday. This comes weeks after a hit-and-run incident in San Francisco. Cruise’s robotaxi suspension is effective immediately, and the DMV says it determined “the manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation.”

Cruise was notified that it would have to remove its robotaxis from the roads effective immediately while the DMV investigates any dangers associated with the technology and considers whether Cruise misrepresented safety information. The DMV says it can immediately revoke or suspend permits if there is an “unreasonable risk to the public,” and will not lift the suspension “until the company has fulfilled the requirements to the department’s satisfaction.”

“Public safety remains the California DMV’s top priority, and the department’s autonomous vehicle regulations provide a framework to facilitate the safe testing and deployment of this technology on California public roads,” the California DMV said in an emailed statement to Gizmodo.

Cruise claims its robotaxis have outperformed the safety benchmark for human ridehail services, the company told Gizmodo, adding that newly released performance data surrounding its driverless performance revealed its taxis were involved in 65% fewer collisions overall.

The company said it has been working closely with the DMV, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the California Public Utilities Commission’s investigation into the hit-and-run that led to its robotaxi suspension.

The investigation follows the accident in which a human driver collided with a pedestrian crossing the street just before 9:30 p.m. PT on Oct. 2. The pedestrian was hit by a person driving a Nissan Sentra and was thrown into the path of the Cruise driverless taxi which “braked aggressively to minimize the impact” but still crashed into the pedestrian, Cruise said in a press release. The human driver responsible for the collision is still at large.

“Ultimately, we develop and deploy autonomous vehicles in an effort to save lives. … Our thoughts continue to be with the victim as we hope for a rapid and complete recovery,” Cruise spokesperson Navideh Forghani said in an emailed statement to Gizmodo. The teams “are currently doing an analysis to identify potential enhancements to the AV’s response to this kind of extremely rare event.”

Although Cruise is still permitted to test its vehicles with human safety drivers behind the wheel, the DMV has not set a time limit for its suspension of Cruise’s driverless taxis.

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