GM’s Cruise issues recall after robotaxi dragged pedestrian


Cruise submitted the voluntary recall earlier this month, after California suspended the company’s permit to operate driverless vehicles in the state over its handling of the incident. The recall involves as many as 950 vehicles, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. — AP

Cruise LLC, the robotaxi company owned by General Motors Co, recalled its automated-driving system and deployed a software update to part of its fleet after one of its vehicles dragged a pedestrian struck by another car in San Francisco last month.

The company also said in a blog post Wednesday that it will hire a chief safety officer and has taken steps to determine how the incident happened and how it was handled.

At a staff meeting Monday, chief executive officer Kyle Vogt said the firm would be facing layoffs, though he did not specify how many of Cruise’s roughly 3,000 employees would be let go, a spokesman confirmed.

Cruise submitted the voluntary recall earlier this month, after California suspended the company’s permit to operate driverless vehicles in the state over its handling of the incident. The recall involves as many as 950 vehicles, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In its recall report submitted to NHTSA on Nov 2, Cruise said that in certain circumstances, its driverless software may have led its vehicles to attempt to pull over out of traffic when they should have stayed put.

That was the case on Oct 2, when a separate car hit a pedestrian and propelled the person into the path of a Cruise robotaxi. After initially coming to a stop, Cruise’s vehicle attempted to pull over and dragged the person about 20 feet.

The incident prompted a NHTSA defect investigation. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has accused the company of withholding video footage of the pullover attempt that it says it learned about from NHTSA. Cruise disputed the DMV’s recounting of events, saying it showed DMV officials the full video of the incident several times early last month.

In addition to hiring a chief safety officer, Cruise has retained an outside law firm to review the Oct 2 pedestrian accident and has brought in a third-party engineering firm to look at the root cause of the problem, the blog post said.

Cruise said in the post it is “dedicated to building a better Cruise” and “committed to keeping our customers, regulators, and the public informed throughout this process”. –Bloomberg

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