As GM Authority has been valiantly following, General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary Cruise has been the subject of increased scrutiny and backlash following an accident where a pedestrian was trapped and dragged underneath a Cruise AV unit after being struck by a human-driven vehicle. As one may expect, this incident served as a catalyst for the general public to begin questioning the efficacy of autonomous vehicles. Now, U.S. authorities are assuring the public that these self-driving vehicles will be deployed safely.
According to a report from Reuters, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated that the federal government will do everything it can using existing regulatory powers to ensure that robotaxi units like Cruise AVs – along with other autonomous vehicles – will be deployed safely.
“We’re going to do everything we can with the authorities we do have, which are not trivial,” Buttigieg claimed in a statement.
As a reminder, Cruise Founder Kyle Vogt and Co-Founder Daniel Kan recently resigned from their positions as CEO and CPO, respectively, as the turmoil surrounding the self-driving subsidiary continues to boil over. Since the aforementioned pedestrian incident, Cruise has been subject to various repercussions, including an NHTSA investigation and California DMV driverless permit suspension.
In an attempt to remedy the acute concerns surrounding its robotaxi technology, Cruise announced that all Cruise AV rides – manual and supervised – are suspended as the company expands its investigations, while a recall was released to update the collision detection system in its robotaxi units, which now provides provisions in the case of another pedestrian-related incident.
Of course, there have been some folks who have been raising red flags surrounding self-driving vehicles for some time now. In fact, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union addressed the NHTSA directly, asking the agency to reject the request of approval from General Motors and Cruise for Cruise Origin operation. More specifically, the exemptions are in regard to the robotaxi’s lack of pedals, steering wheel, and other manual controls.