Cruise’s Robotaxi Permit Suspended By California DMV


The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has made the decision to immediately suspend Cruise’s robotaxi permit, effectively halting the operation of GM’s self-driving car subsidiary in San Francisco. This suspension comes just a few months after Cruise obtained the necessary permit to commercialize its operations. The DMV’s top priority is public safety, and when there is an unreasonable risk, permits can be suspended or revoked without a set timeframe.

Key Takeaway

The California DMV has suspended Cruise’s robotaxi permit due to safety concerns and the alleged withholding of video footage from an ongoing investigation. This decision puts a halt to Cruise’s commercial operations in San Francisco. The DMV has stated that certain requirements must be met before the permits can be reinstated. Cruise has responded by pausing its driverless AV operations and is actively working on enhancing its vehicles’ response in rare events.

DMV Discovers Withheld Video Footage

The DMV’s order of suspension was issued because Cruise reportedly withheld video footage from an ongoing investigation. The incident in question occurred on October 2nd, when a pedestrian was hit by a human-driven car and became trapped under a Cruise robotaxi. During a meeting with Cruise representatives, the department was shown video footage of the accident but was not shown footage of the subsequent movement of the vehicle, which was disclosed by another government agency. After receiving the complete video footage on October 13th, the DMV concluded that Cruise had withheld information.

California DMV’s Concerns and Requirements

The DMV has stated that Cruise must fulfill certain requirements to reinstate its suspended permits. The agency will not approve the permits until it is satisfied that the vehicles are safe for public operation and that Cruise has provided accurate information regarding its autonomous vehicle technology. The DMV believes that the autonomous vehicle testing conducted by Cruise on public roads poses an unreasonable risk to the public.

Cruise’s Response

Cruise has expressed disappointment regarding the suspension of its permits and stated that it will be pausing operations of its driverless AVs in San Francisco. The company maintains that its autonomous vehicle attempted to avoid further safety issues by braking aggressively and pulling over after detecting the collision. Cruise has cooperated with regulators and law enforcement regarding the incident and is currently analyzing potential enhancements to its vehicles’ response in rare events like these.

Impact on Commercial Robotaxi Services

Cruise and competitor Waymo had recently received the final permits required to offer commercial robotaxi services in San Francisco. However, without the DMV permits, which allow for driverless vehicles on public roads, the permit issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is rendered ineffective. The CPUC permit had already faced opposition due to concerns over vehicle malfunctions causing disruptions in traffic flow and safety.

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