Cruise blues: Robotaxi firm pauses all driverless operations
Decision comes after CA revokes firm's driverless license and NHTSA signal an investigation
Robotaxi operator Cruise's bad week just keeps getting worse: now the GM-backed business has paused driverless operations across its entire fleet.
Cruise's latest safety maneuver comes just days after California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended the company's self-driving vehicle license, and a little more than a week since the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe into a pair of pedestrian collisions.
"The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust," Cruise said in a post to X late yesterday. "In that spirit, we have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust."
Cruise won't be leaving the roads entirely, even in California where it lost its self-driving permit. "Supervised AV operations will continue," Cruise said without providing a timeline or details about what it planned to do to address safety concerns.
Along with operating in San Francisco, where it was forced by the California DMV in August to cut its fleet in half after "recent concerning incidents," Cruise also operates in Phoenix, AZ, Austin and Houston, both in Texas.
California's revocation of Cruise's driverless license was made due to public safety concerns, with the DMV describing driverless Cruise taxis as "not safe for the public's operation." The CA DMV also accused Cruise of misrepresenting capabilities and safety data of its vehicles to regulators.
- Human knocks down woman in hit-and-run. Then driverless Cruise car parks on top of her
- Cruise self-driving taxi gets wheels stuck in wet cement
- San Francisco fog defeats pack of Waymo robo-taxis
- Cruise emits software fix after self-driving car slams into bus
The NHTSA declined to comment on Cruise's decision to pause driverless operations, but did call our attention to another investigation it launched in December into "inappropriately hard braking" and sudden stoppages, unrelated problems yet ones that the NHTSA said "each result in the Cruise vehicles becoming unexpected roadway obstacles."
"NHTSA has been notified of multiple reports involving Cruise ADS equipped vehicles, operating without onboard human supervision, becoming immobilized," NHTSA said. This is in addition to three reports of sudden braking "in response to another road user that was quickly approaching from the rear" resulting in the Cruise vehicle being rear-ended. Safety drivers were onboard in the rear collision cases, NHTSA said.
Regulators have also asked Cruise for more information in the sudden braking investigation with a deadline of November 3. "We welcome NHTSA's questions related to our safety record and operations. We have cooperated with each of their requests to date as part of the ongoing investigation process and will continue doing so," Cruise told us when asked about the NHTSA's deadlines. ®