Cruise driverless cars suspended after accident

cruise driverless cars
Robotaxis are a common sight in San Francisco | CHRIS WENSEL

After an accident that resulted in a pedestrian being pulled under the wheels of a driverless Cruise cab, California decided to ban them from operating in San Francisco.

Citing safety concerns, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) asserted that the corporation had provided false information about what transpired following the event.

The company is one of just two businesses in the city authorized to offer autonomous taxi rides.

Cruise announced that it would be “pausing operations in the city” in a statement.

To the surprise of many visitors, autonomous vehicles (AVs), commonly known as driverless taxis, are a frequent sight in San Francisco.

The name implies that there isn’t a driver. Using an app, a client can hail a cab and use their phone to unlock the door.

Critics, however, dispute letting the cars drive on city streets because it is unclear how safe they are.

A pedestrian was injured on October 2 and subsequently thrown into the path of a Cruise vehicle.

Cruise claimed that the vehicle “detected a collision” and came to a halt. Afterward, it “attempted to pull over to avoid causing further road safety issues, pulling the individual forward approximately 20 feet”.

Cruise driverless cars
A view from the passenger seat of a Cruise robotaxi

The DMV has provided further details, though.

“During the course of performing the hard-braking maneuver, the AV collided with and ran over the pedestrian”, according to the law enforcement agency.

“After coming to a complete stop, the AV vehicle subsequently attempted to perform a pullover maneuver while the pedestrian was underneath the vehicle.”

After that, the DMV charged Cruise with lying about what transpired.

The agency announced on October 3rd that it met with Cruise to examine the event.

The AV’s first stop after the hard-braking maneuver marked the end of the video footage that was shown to the department. The DMV claims that footage of the AV’s subsequent pullover maneuver was not given to the agency.

According to Cruise, a number of circumstances came together to create this situation, which has never happened before.

On the other hand, the DMV stated that the event “indicates that Cruise’s vehicles may lack the ability to respond in a safe and appropriate manner during incidents involving a pedestrian”.

The second company offering autonomous taxis in San Francisco at a cost, Waymo is exempt from the suspension, the government informed the BBC.

“We have stayed in close contact with regulators to answer their questions and assisted the police with identifying the vehicle of the hit and run driver,” Cruise said in a press release.

For Cruise, which seemed to have established itself in San Francisco only a few months ago, the DMV’s action is a major blow.

Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the cities that Cruise hopes to expand into. However, San Francisco is generally regarded as the company’s test market.

A huge milestone for Cruise occurred in August when the city decided to permit the company to offer 24-hour taxi service for paid journeys.

Following a collision involving a cruise car and a fire engine not too long after, the company was requested to reduce the number of cars it operated on public roads by half.

San Francisco emergency services representatives have also blasted the company’s vehicles for obstructing traffic.

Waymo and Cruise have both maintained that their vehicles are safer than those driven by people.

Nevertheless, they are also capable of acting jerkily, strangely, or strangely.

The BBC has utilized Cruise AVs on San Francisco streets on multiple occasions, including one instance where the vehicle was unable to turn right and was obstructing traffic until it was manually maneuvered.

These automobiles are adored by some San Franciscans. Without a driver, there can be no speeding, no intoxication, and no refusal to pick up a passenger because of a disability.

Some question why untested cars are being tested in San Francisco.

An initiative started by an activist group during the summer involved placing street cones on the cars’ bonnets, which deactivates them.

Credits: BBC

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