One of the appeals of self-driving vehicles is the concept of a computer performing all the operations necessary for transportation, thus minimizing human error and subsequent accidents. To this end, General Motors’ autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise has been hard at work developing robotaxi technology. Now, it appears as though the Cruise AV units using this tech currently require human operators to function properly.
According to a report from The New York Times, Cruise AV units required 1.5 remote workers per vehicle, who intervened with the robotaxis every 2.5 to five miles to assist them. More specifically, the operators had to frequently step in to remotely control a Cruise AV unit after receiving a signal that it was having issues.
It’s worth noting that Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt claimed that the robotaxi units would eventually be a cheaper form of transportation than other ride-sharing offerings. However, under this current blend of robot and human operation, it may take some time for this to materialize.
As a reminder, Cruise recently paused all self-driving activity across the U.S. in response to the California DMV’s suspension of its driverless operations after identifying four statues the subsidiary had violated.
“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 reads. “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.”
Notably, this suspension came not long after Cruise had announced a series of technology upgrades intended to better identify and avoid emergency vehicles and equipment. In the meantime, the Cruise AVs will continue to operate in their respective cities, but will have a human safety driver on board for now.