Federal Regulators Launch Investigation Into Cruise’s Autonomous Vehicle System


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently initiated an investigation into Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors (GM), regarding its autonomous vehicle system. This decision follows a number of incidents involving pedestrians in San Francisco, where Cruise operates its robotaxi service.

Key Takeaway

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into Cruise, a self-driving car subsidiary of General Motors, following a series of incidents involving pedestrians in San Francisco. The investigation will focus on Cruise’s adherence to pedestrian safety protocols and its autonomous driving system’s performance in relation to pedestrians.

Latest Incident Sparks Investigation

The most recent incident took place on October 2, when a woman was struck by a human-driven vehicle and became trapped under a Cruise robotaxi. The San Francisco Police Department is also conducting an investigation into this particular event.

Based on reports received, the NHTSA began a preliminary probe due to concerns that Cruise vehicles may not have exercised appropriate caution around pedestrians on the roadway. The agency filed a report on their website, outlining the reason behind this investigation.

Cruise’s Response and Safety Record

Cruise spokesperson, Hannah Lindow, stated that Cruise’s safety record remains impressive, with their autonomous vehicles outperforming human drivers over a span of 5 million miles. Lindow added that Cruise maintains regular communication with the NHTSA and consistently cooperates with their requests for information, whether it is related to an investigation or not.

NHTSA Identifies Relevant Incidents

The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received two reports of injuries involving Cruise vehicles and identified two additional incidents backed by videos posted on public websites. These reports involve situations where Cruise vehicles have encroached on pedestrians who were either already on the road or in the process of crossing. The NHTSA emphasized that this behavior could lead to an increased risk of collision resulting in severe injury or death to pedestrians.

The preliminary investigation will aim to determine the extent and seriousness of the potential issue, encompassing factors that may be related to Cruise’s automated driving system’s policies and performance with regard to pedestrian safety. The exact number of “relevant pedestrian” incidents is currently unknown, according to the NHTSA.

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