GM self-driving unit Cruise to re-launch human-operated testing

Credit: Cruise

The General Motors (GM) self-driving unit Cruise has announced plans to resume driver-operated vehicle testing in Arizona, after an accident with one of its driverless taxis in October left a pedestrian severely injured.

In a press release on Tuesday, Cruise said it plans to re-launch driver-operated testing in Phoenix, Arizona, after it halted all operations following the October 2 accident. Since then, Cruise has made multiple statements about re-gaining public trust and eventually re-launching driverless operations, and so has parent company GM.

“Cruise is resuming manual driving to create maps and gather road information in select cities, starting in Phoenix,” Cruise said in the release. “This work is done using human-driven vehicles without autonomous systems engaged, and is a critical step for validating our self-driving systems as we work towards returning to our driverless mission.”

The company is touting the human-operated testing as a crucial step toward eventually re-introducing driverless vehicles, and the company also says it eventually hopes to do so in close collaboration with a city.

“This will help inform where we ultimately will resume driverless operations,” Cruise added.

Cruise’s permit to operate driverless vehicles was suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) following the accident, in which one of its robotaxis hit, dragged and pinned a pedestrian who had been hit by a car with a human driver. The company has since faced a downward spiral, with several executives leaving, widespread layoffs, and investigations on both the state and federal level.

During a hearing with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in February, Cruise was forced to boost its settlement offer to the maximum penalty, though the company still awaits a proposed decision from the judge to be evaluated by the commissioner. At the time of writing, the CPUC has not responded to Teslarati’s request for updates on the matter.

In addition to canceling production of the upcoming Cruise Origin robotaxi, GM said during its 2023 earnings call that it would be cutting spending on the self-driving unit in half this year. Despite this, re-launching the company’s driverless taxi operations as safely as possible remains a goal for the company, as highlighted during the call by GM CEO Mary Barra.

“At Cruise, we are committed to earning back the trust of regulators and the public through our commitments and our actions,” Barra wrote in a letter to investors.

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Zachary Visconti: Zach is a renewable energy reporter who has been covering electric vehicles since 2020. He grew up in Fremont, California, and he currently resides in Colorado. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, KRON4 San Francisco, FOX31 Denver and many other publications. When he isn't covering Tesla or other EV companies for Teslarati, you can find him writing and performing music, drinking lots of coffee, or hanging out with his cat, Banks. Reach out to Zach at, or you can find him on X @zacharyvisconti.
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