The California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended permits for Cruise driverless robotaxis Tuesday, stating that the department “determined that the manufacturer's vehicles pose an unsafe risk to the public." Photo courtesy of getcruise.com
Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The California Department of Motor Vehicles said Tuesday that it has suspended permits for Cruise driverless robotaxis, effective immediately.
The DMV said that the department "determined that the manufacturer's vehicles pose an unsafe risk to the public" and that the manufacturer provided inaccurate information about the safety of its new technology.
The agency said Cruise, predominantly owned by General Motors, must take necessary steps to apply for the reinstatement of the suspended permits and that the decision does not affect the company's permit for testing with a safety driver.
"Public safety remains the California DMV's top priority, and the department's autonomous vehicle regulations provide a framework to facilitate the safe testing and deployment of this technology on California public roads," said the DMV.
"When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits. There is no set time for a suspension."
The suspension comes in the wake of a series of safety worries and crashes that have arisen since Cruise received authorization in August to operate robotaxi services in San Francisco, including an incident in which a woman was struck by a car that propelled her into the path of an autonomous Cruise taxi that subsequently ran her over.
Cruise issued a statement in a series of tweets on X, formerly known as Twitter, following Tuesday's news of the suspension.
In the statement, the company acknowledged the October incident involving the pedestrian, calling it an "extremely rare event".
"Ultimately, we develop and deploy autonomous vehicles in an effort to save lives," the company posted. "In the incident being reviewed by the DMV, a human hit-and-run driver tragically struck and propelled the pedestrian into the path of the AV. The AV braked aggressively before impact and because it detected a collision, it attempted to pull over to avoid further safety issues.
"When the AV tried to pull over, it continued before coming to a final stop, pulling the pedestrian forward.... Our teams are currently doing an analysis to identify potential enhancements to the AV's response to this kind of extremely rare event."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into the Cruise autonomous vehicle division last December following similar reports of incidents where vehicles may not have exercised appropriate caution around pedestrians on the road.