The California DMV has stated that GM’s self-driving unit, Cruise, misrepresented and omitted critical information from a serious incident involving a pedestrian and one of its autonomous robotaxis. The incident, which happened on October 2, involved a woman being struck by a human-driven car and later getting run over by one of Cruise’s self-driving vehicles. The pedestrian suffered serious injuries.
Cruise executives later met with California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) officials to review the incident. The Cruise executives played footage that was recorded by the robotaxi’s cameras, which reportedly showed the pedestrian falling from the hood of a human-driven car and ending up in the path of the robotaxi, which unfortunately stopped on top of the woman.
As noted in an Automotive News report, DMV officials have alleged that Cruise omitted what happened next from its presentation. As per two orders of suspension that the DMV issued on Tuesday, the robotaxi actually traveled another 20 feet at a speed of 7 mph after running over the pedestrian in an attempt to pull over. This meant that the pedestrian was dragged on the street after she was run over. Such an event may very well have resulted in further injuries to the woman.
Cruise described the event in a recent post. “The AV biased rightward before braking aggressively, but still made contact with the pedestrian. The AV detected a collision, bringing the vehicle to a stop; then attempted to pull over to avoid causing further road safety issues, pulling the individual forward approximately 20 feet,” Cruise wrote.
Interestingly enough, Cruise did not disclose the robotaxi’s immediate actions after it ran over the pedestrian. This was true for the video that the GM self-driving unit provided to media outlets and to the DMV. As per DMV officials, the agency was only made aware of the robotaxi’s later actions following a discussion with another government agency. Cruise would later provide the full video of the incident to the DMV on October 13, but that was after the agency asked for it.
The DMV noted that the robotaxi’s performance during the incident, as well as Cruise’s “omission” and “misrepresentation” of what happened, became the basis of the driverless robotaxi service’s suspension of its testing permits. Bernard Soriano, a DMV deputy director, noted that the robotaxi’s actions after running over the pedestrian suggested that the autonomous vehicles need more safety optimizations.
“The subsequent maneuvering of the vehicle indicates that Cruise’s vehicles may lack the ability to respond in a safe and appropriate manner during incidents involving a pedestrian… Cruise’s omission hinders the ability of the department to effectively and timely evaluate the safe operation of Cruise vehicles and puts the safety of the public at risk,” the DMV deputy director noted.
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