California authorities have asked General Motors to “immediately” take some of its Cruise robotaxis off the road after autonomous vehicles were involved in two collisions.
Here’s What Happened
Since June 2021, the city of San Francisco and driverless taxi companies such as Cruise and Google-backed Waymo have been at odds over the city limiting its driverless services.
When CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) slowly expanded the limits of the robotaxis, reports of blocked traffic, blocking emergency workers, blocking mass transit, and other worrying behavior by the cars became commonplace in the city.
Following the approvals, two accidents came less than two weeks after the official green light for Cruise and competitor Waymo to charge money for robotaxi trips around San Francisco at any time of day.
Before that, Cruise was only authorized to offer fared passenger service from driverless cars overnight from 10 pm to 6 am, when fewer pedestrians or traffic could confuse the autonomous vehicle’s software.
The collisions, which both occurred on Thursday, reveal the potential risks of driverless technology.
Emergency services soon began raising the issue of how much these companies should expand, as there were many kinks to be worked out.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles, the agency that regulates the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the state, requested a reduction in operations. The state agency said it is investigating “recent concerning incidents” involving Cruise vehicles in San Francisco.
It called for Cruise to reduce its fleet by 50% and have no more than 50 driverless vehicles in operation during the day and 150 driverless cars at night until the investigation is complete.
A Cruise spokesperson said in an email: “We…look forward to working with the CA DMV to make any improvements and provide any data they need to reinforce the safety and efficiency of our fleet.”
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