Cruise Suspends All Unmanned Operations After Pedestrian Collision Allowed to Stop in California

A cruise ship in San Francisco, California on Wednesday, February 2, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cruise, an autonomous vehicle startup owned by General Motors, suspended all self-driving operations after the crash sparked an investigation, a dispute with state regulators and the suspension of its licenses in California earlier this week.

The autonomous vehicle maker, founded by CEO Kyle Vogt in 2013, has previously launched self-driving operations in San Francisco, Austin, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Miami.

GM The company lost about $1.9 billion on cruises through September of this year, including $732 million in the third quarter alone, the company said Tuesday. The same day, after GM's third-quarter earnings update, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced it had suspended the Cruze's deployment and testing permits in the state.

The DMV's suspension orders followed safety concerns and incidents after Cruise received approval in August to operate around-the-clock robotax service in San Francisco. California Public Utilities Commission is also suspended A license that authorizes a cruise to transport and charge passengers for robotaxi rides within the state.

In early October, in one high-profile incident, the driver of another car hit a pedestrian in San Francisco, causing him to step into the path of a self-driving cruise vehicle. According to DMV records obtained by CNBC, Cruise's autonomous vehicle came to a complete stop and “then attempted to perform a pullover maneuver with a pedestrian underneath the vehicle.”

“The AV traveled approximately 20 feet and reached a speed of 7 mph before coming to a subsequent and final stop,” and “the pedestrian remained underneath the vehicle,” the DMV record said. In a suspension order sent to Cruise, the DMV wrote that “the manufacturer's vehicles are not safe for public operation” and that they “may lack the ability to safely and appropriately respond to pedestrian incidents.”

is turned on LinkedIn On Thursday night, Cruise wrote:

“The most important thing for us now is to take steps to restore public trust. Part of that involves looking deep inside and at how we do work on the cruise, even if that means doing things that are uncomfortable or difficult.

In that spirit, we've decided to proactively suspend immobile operations across all of our fleets while we take time to review our processes, systems and tools and think about how we can do better to earn the public's trust.

This is not related to any new incidents on the road and supervised AV operations will continue. We think this is right at a time when we need to be more vigilant when it comes to risk, be relentlessly focused on security and take steps to restore public trust.”

The move comes two days after GM CEO Mary Barra said several times that the automaker believes Cruise vehicles are safer than human drivers.

“We believe that cruise has a tremendous opportunity to grow and expand. Safety will be our gateway factor as we do that and we will continue to work with the cities that we deploy to,” Barra said during the third-quarter earnings call. Says GM plans to expand Cruze support.

Barra cited the cruise on Tuesday as an example of the company's history of “defining the future of transportation” and said the self-driving venture “continues to push the boundaries of what AV technology can bring to society.” He said security is “always at the forefront and it's something they're constantly improving.”

Cruise will continue to operate its autonomous vehicles with human safety drivers behind the wheel to monitor traffic, the company also said Thursday.

A GM spokeswoman referred all questions to Cruise and declined to comment on any involvement of the automaker or Barra in the decision to suspend work. Honda, Cruz's minority shareholder, did not immediately return calls for comment.