California suspends Cruise’s autonomous driverless vehicle permits!
In a significant blow to autonomous vehicle company Cruise, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has mandated the immediate removal of all its driverless cars from San Francisco’s roads. This decision follows an investigation into a series of alarming incidents involving Cruise vehicles, prompting state regulators to label the robotaxis as an “unreasonable risk” to public safety. Notably, a recent incident involved a pedestrian being struck by a regular car and subsequently dragged by a Cruise vehicle, highlighting safety concerns.
The DMV’s ruling forces Cruise to reduce its fleet by 50 percent, and the company can only conduct road tests if a safety driver is present. This suspension comes after state regulators permitted Cruise and Google’s Waymo to operate 24/7 paid robotaxi services in San Francisco. However, these driverless cars have faced criticism and protests for disruptive behavior, including sudden stops in busy intersections and hindering emergency responders.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt defended his company, stating that criticisms of driverless cars were exaggerated. Despite Vogt’s claims, the DMV determined that Cruise vehicles were “not safe for the public’s operation” and accused the company of misrepresenting safety-related information. One incident highlighted by the DMV involved a Cruise vehicle rolling over a pedestrian and then attempting to pull over, potentially jeopardizing the injured party further.
This suspension raises broader questions about the safety of autonomous vehicles. David Zipper, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, emphasized the need for California to reconsider its regulations, prompting other cities to evaluate whether they want Cruise operating on their streets. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors President, Aaron Peskin, welcomed the decision, asserting that Cruise vehicles were never ready for widespread deployment.
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