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Cruise, GM’s robotaxi service, suspends all driverless operations

NEW YORK (AP) – Cruise, the autonomous vehicle unit owned by General Motors, is suspending driverless operations in United States (US) days after regulators in California found that its driverless cars posed a danger to public safety.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles this week revoked the licence for Cruise, which recently began transporting passengers throughout San Francisco. Cruise is also being investigated by US regulators after receiving reports of potential risks to pedestrians and passengers.

“We have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust,” Cruise wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday night.

The choice to suspend its driverless services isn’t related to any new on-road incidents, Cruise added. Human-supervised operations of Cruise’s autonomous vehicles, or AVs, will continue – including under California’s indefinite suspension.

General Motors Co, which has ambitious goals for Cruise, has taken a significant hit this week. The Detroit automaker had been expecting annual revenue of USD1 billion from Cruise by 2025 – a big jump from the USD106 million in revenue last year.

Cruise AV, General Motor’s autonomous electric Bolt EV is displayed in Detroit, United States. PHOTO: AP

Cruise has also tested a robotaxi service in Los Angeles, as well as cities like Phoenix and Austin, Texas.

While the California Department of Motor Vehicles didn’t elaborate on specific reasons for its suspension of Cruise’s licence this week, the agency charged Cruise with misrepresenting safety information about the autonomous technology in its vehicles.

Earlier this month, a Cruise robotaxi notably ran over a pedestrian who had been hit by another vehicle driven by a human. The pedestrian became pinned under a tyre of the Cruise vehicle after it came to a stop – and then was pulled for about six metres as the car attempted to move off the road.

The DMV and others have accused Cruise of not initially sharing all video footage of the accident, but the robotaxi operator pushed back – saying it disclosed the full video to state and federal officials. In a recent statement, Cruise said they are cooperating with regulators investigating the October 2 accident – and that its engineers are working on way for its robotaxis to improve their response “to this kind of extremely rare event”.