As GM Authority has been extensively covering, General Motors’ robotaxi subsidiary Cruise has been on the hot seat since a pedestrian was unintentionally trapped and dragged underneath a Cruise AV unit after being struck by a human-driven vehicle back on October 2nd, 2023. As one may imagine, the autonomous driving company responded in a number of ways, including hiring a third-party law firm to investigate the incident. Today, the details surrounding the investigation have been released.
For starters, the Quinn Emanuel law firm points out that Cruise leadership was aware of the accident as of the morning of October 3rd, 2023. In fact, more than 100 employees were informed of what went down before Cruise officials met with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, NHTSA, DMV, and other government officials.
In these meetings, Cruise played a video of the incident with the intent of letting it “speak for itself,” thus adopting a position where the company representatives didn’t verbally discuss how the pedestrian was dragged for roughly 20 feet. However, in three of these meeting with officials, internet connectivity issues reportedly prevented the video from being seen clearly or fully. Despite this, Cruise still elected to not provide any further information about the Cruise AV’s pullover maneuver or pedestrian dragging.
The Quinn Emanuel law firm gives various reasons for Cruise’s incompetency, including poor leadership, mistakes in judgment, lack of coordination, an “us versus them” mentality, and a fundamental misapprehension of its own obligations of accountability and transparency toward the government and general public.
It’s important to note that despite these shortcomings, the firm believes that the evidence doesn’t indicate that Cruise leaders or employees tried to purposely mislead regulators.
So, where to go from here? As previously mentioned, Cruise has already taken a number of steps for damage control, a few of which were recommended by the Quinn Emanuel firm. These measures include:
- Voluntarily pausing all Cruise AV activity across the United States
- A number of notable departures including CEO Kyle Vogt and CPO Daniel Kan
- Establishing a new Chief Safety Officer role and appointing an interim leader
- Bringing in experienced leaders from parent-company GM