General Motors’ subsidiary, Cruise, specializing in autonomous vehicles, has announced a significant reduction in its fleet of robotaxis operating in San Francisco. The decision follows two recent crashes that have raised questions about the technology’s safety. In response, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requested the reduction after a collision involving a Cruise vehicle operating without a human driver and an unidentified emergency vehicle.
The DMV outlined the reduction, stating that Cruise has agreed to cut its fleet by 50%, limiting the number of driverless vehicles to 50 during the daytime and 150 during the nighttime. This move comes shortly after regulatory approval was granted to Cruise and Google’s Waymo to run autonomous robotaxis around the clock in San Francisco.
One of the incidents involved a collision between a Cruise vehicle and an emergency response vehicle, resulting in injuries to the passenger within the robotaxi. Another incident featured a Cruise car without a passenger colliding with another vehicle. Cruise clarified that its robotaxi successfully identified the approaching emergency vehicle, yet various factors, including obstructions and oncoming traffic, complicated the vehicle’s response.
Cruise’s journey has been punctuated by obstacles, including previous traffic-related incidents and technical glitches. During the Outside Lands music festival, multiple self-driving cars caused disruptions by blocking a major road. Despite these challenges, Cruise is committed to enhancing safety measures, working alongside regulators and city departments to prevent future accidents.
The DMV’s directive for fleet reduction will remain in effect until the investigation concludes, and Cruise implements necessary safety enhancements. The DMV maintains the authority to suspend or revoke testing and deployment permits if public safety is compromised.
These recent incidents underscore the intricate challenges that autonomous vehicles face in real-world environments. Cruise’s proactive efforts to confront these difficulties highlight the continual evolution of self-driving technology.
Keywords: Cruise, autonomous vehicles, robotaxis, fleet reduction, San Francisco, safety concerns, accidents, DMV, investigation.