GM's Cruise recalling 950 driverless cars after pedestrian dragged in crash

FILE PHOTO: A self-driving GM Bolt EV is seen during a media event where Cruise, GM's autonomous car unit, showed off its self-driving cars in San Francisco, California, U.S. November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cruise is recalling 950 driverless cars from the roads across the United States following a crash involving one of its robotaxis and will likely issue more recalls, General Motors' self-driving unit said.

The cars are being recalled because the collision detection subsystem of the Cruise Automated Driving Systems (ADS) software may respond improperly after a crash, according to a notice made public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Wednesday.

The recall is the latest setback for GM's Cruise unit that faces growing questions about its technology that GM says it key to its growth plans.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra reiterated in June a forecast Cruise could generate $50 billion in revenue by 2030. Cruise lost more than $700 million in the third quarter of this year.

GM shares fell 1.6% to $27.95 on Wednesday.

Last month, a pedestrian in San Francisco was struck by a hit-and-run driver and thrown into an adjacent lane and was hit a second time by a Cruise robotaxi that was not able to stop in time and then dragged the pedestrian.

The recall addresses circumstances when the software may cause the Cruise AV to attempt to pull over out of traffic instead of remaining stationary "when a pullover is not the desired post-collision response," Cruise said.

Cruise said last month it would halt operations nationwide after California regulators suspended the robotaxi operator's license, saying the Cruise self-driving vehicles were a risk to the public. The company on Monday said it is temporarily halting production of its fully autonomous Cruise Origin.

Cruise said it determined "a similar collision with a risk of serious injury could have recurred every 10 million to 100 million miles of driving on average prior to the software update."

Cruise is facing two federal investigations over the safety of its cars, including two incidents where the robot cars appeared not to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

"As our software improves, it is likely we will file additional recalls to inform both NHTSA and the public of updates to enhance safety across our fleet," Cruise said.

Cruise - which has operations in Phoenix, Arizona; Houston, Austin and Dallas in Texas; and Miami - is in a race with Alphabet's Waymo unit and others to bring robot cars to the market.

Cruise is conducting a search to hire a chief safety officer and has hired law firm Quinn Emanuel to conduct an outside review.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Chandni Shah in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Chizu Nomiyama)

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