In the latest blow to GM’s autonomous driving subsidiary Cruise, San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against a California commission that would’ve allowed the robotaxi company to expand its operations in Summer 2024, despite recent allegations against the safety of Cruise’s operations.
According to a report from The Washington Post, the lawsuit was filed in December 2023 and had not been previously reported. Essentially, the lawsuit asks the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to review its decision to allow Waymo to operate a 24/7 taxi service around San Francisco, which was approved back in August 2023.
It’s worth noting that Cruise is technically not impacted by this legal action, as the self-driving subsidiary has already had its autonomous driving permits revoked following the incident where a pedestrian was struck by a human-driven vehicle and then dragged by a Cruise AV unit.
“San Francisco believes that autonomous vehicles will be a beneficial part of our city’s future, but in the meantime, while allowing this technology to develop, we must act to protect the safety of our residents and visitors,” San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu stated. “Poor AV performance has caused serious problems on San Francisco streets, jeopardizing public safety and emergency response.”
While many experts believe Chiu is attempting to make a difficult legal case, if it were to swing his way, Waymo could potentially be forced to roll back its expansions in a similar manner to Cruise while California officials reconvene on how to best proceed.
“We remain confident in our ability to continue safely serving San Francisco’s visitors and residents,” Waymo Spokesperson Julia Ilina claimed in a prepared statement. “We have continually demonstrated our deep willingness and longtime commitment to work in partnership with California state regulators, San Francisco city officials and first responders and continue to stand by that approach.”
“As driverless AVS expanded in San Francisco, members of the public and city officials identified hundreds of safety incidents, including interference with first responders,” the lawsuit reads. “Despite these serious safety incidents, and over the objections of San Francisco, the commission approved requests by Cruise and Waymo to operate.”
Notably, a spokesperson for the CPUC failed to comment on this recent development.