As covered by GM Authority in October 2023, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it had opened an investigation into Cruise – General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary – over concerns regarding inadequate pedestrian safety. Now, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has suspended Cruise’s driverless operations.
Citing the violation of four statutes, the California DMV has announced that it has placed an immediate suspension of Cruise’s deployment and driverless testing permits in San Francisco.
“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,” a statement from the California DMV read. “When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits. There is no set time for a suspension.”
(1/6) We learned today at 10:30 am PT of the California DMV’s suspension of our driverless permits. As a result, we will be pausing operations of our driverless AVs in San Francisco. https://t.co/A5HAV2WUv7
— cruise (@Cruise) October 24, 2023
“The California DMV today notified Cruise that the department is suspending Cruise’s autonomous vehicle deployment and driverless testing permits, effective immediately,” the statement continued. “The DMV has provided Cruise with the steps needed to apply to reinstate its suspended permits, which the DMV will not approve until the company has fulfilled the requirements to the department’s satisfaction. This decision does not impact the company’s permit for testing with a safety driver.”
Cruise LLC responded with the following statement on social media: “We learned today at 10:30 am PT of the California DMV’s suspension of our driverless permits. As a result, we will be pausing operations of our driverless AVs in San Francisco.” The company added that when one of its robotaxis ran over a pedestrian that was previously stuck by a human-driven vehicle, the robotaxi attempted to pull over to avoid additional safety issues and consequently dragged the pedestrian further forward before coming to a stop.
It’s worth noting that Cruise announced a series of technology upgrades following complaints over its robotaxi units’ response to emergency vehicles. After these updates, Cruise AV units will be able to better identify and avoid emergency vehicles and equipment.