As GM Authority has been closely following, General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary Cruise has been through a rough patch as of late, including an NHSTA investigation, California DMV suspension, and pause of its entire robotaxi operation across the United States. In light of this, more than 20 unions have urged U.S. automotive safety regulators to initiate an industry-wide probe into driverless vehicle companies, including Waymo and Zoox.
According to a report from Reuters, the unions cite the aforementioned NHTSA investigation and California DMV suspension as the reason that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and NHTSA Acting Administer Ann Carlson need to begin a probe into the industry. To this end, the unions sent a letter directly to Buttigieg and Carlson.
It’s worth noting the Waymo and Zoox are owned by Alphabet (Google) and Amazon, respectively.
The letter claimed that driverless vehicles “are unsafe and untenable in their current form. This industry is in dire need of federal regulation and leadership to restore a modicum of safety and establish a realistic path for these vehicles to operate without threatening other road users. NHTSA must initiate an industry-wide investigation to determine the true extent of the safety failures behind the scenes.”
The letter continued to state that workers are facing safety issues from robotaxi units, and that it’s time for the NHSTA to “step up its regulatory authority to ensure these vehicles are being operated responsibly and with the serious oversight they require.”
As a reminder, these developments all stem from a recent incident where a Cruise AV unit unintentionally dragged a pedestrian underneath itself after the pedestrian had been struck by a human-driven vehicle. As one may imagine, this created quite the uproar, which lead to the previously mentioned NHTSA investigation and California DMV suspension.
In an attempt to address the issue, Cruise recently released a safety recall with updated directions on how the robotaxis are to handle these types of unpredictable circumstances.