Bad Internet Connection Concealed Cruise’s Pedestrian-Dragging Incident

Bad Internet Connection Concealed Cruise’s Pedestrian-Dragging Incident

Cruise, the self-driving car company whose robotaxi dragged a pedestrian, shared footage from the graphic incident with regulators using a bad internet connection, according to an independent review. Cruise didn’t explicitly say that a pedestrian was dragged 20 feet, and hoped screen sharing a video would “speak for itself.” The internet connection was so bad that regulators on the call never saw what happened.

“Internet connectivity issues likely precluded or hampered [government officials] from seeing the Full Video clearly and fully,” said lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, who were hired by Cruise to conduct the review. When internet issues caused the video to freeze and black out, “Cruise employees remained silent, failing to ensure that the regulators understood what they likely could not see.”

Lawyers called Cruise’s approach to alerting government officials “passive,” “non-transparent,” and “fundamentally flawed” in the nearly 200-page review of the pedestrian-dragging incident. Cruise felt it would be okay to just play a poor-quality video of the Oct. 2 incident for regulators, and when no one asked any questions, company executives didn’t disclose anymore. The law firm hired to review Cruise’s conduct said the incident reflects deficient leadership at the highest levels of the company, and states in the report that “there was no captain of the ship.”

Cruise met with government officials on Oct. 3, one day after the dragging incident, where it ineffectively shared videos using poor video quality. Government officials only saw the true, unobstructed video of the incident more than a week after initial meetings with Cruise, according to the review. The California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise from operating its robotaxis on Oct. 24, noting that the company had “misrepresented information.”

The review details graphic images and videos that Cruise contractors captured from the dragging incident, and reports that over 100 Cruise employees were aware of the accident before Oct. 3. These images and videos were not proactively shared with regulators until weeks after the accident occurred. The review details graphic images and videos that Cruise contractors captured from the dragging incident.

“That contractor reported he saw blood and pieces of skin in one spot that was two to three car lengths from where the AV finally stopped,” said the review.

The review states that Cruise was largely focused on correcting an originally reported, false narrative about this incident. Early reports said that a Cruise robotaxi hit a pedestrian in San Francisco. In actuality, a human-driven vehicle hit the pedestrian, and then a Cruise vehicle just ran over her and proceeded to drag her.

Several executives have stepped down from Cruise in the wake of this fiasco, including CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, as well as co-founder Dan Kan. Most recently, Cruise laid off roughly a quarter of its employees, and its robotaxis remain halted.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also investigating Cruise, according to a company blog post.

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