GM Cruise To Resume Robotaxi Tests On Public Roads – Report

GM’s Cruise division is reportedly preparing to resume testing of its robotaxi fleet on public roads, after a high profile accident last year.

Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter, reported that Cruise is nearing the resumption of robotaxi testing in the coming weeks, with Houston and Dallas emerging as potential locations.

It comes after California Department of Motor Vehicles had suspended Cruise’s robotaxi permit last year, after a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle driven by a hit-and-run driver, who fled the scene.

Image credit: Cruise

Robotaxi service

The pedestrian was unfortunately flung into the path of the Cruise robotaxi, and the person was then dragged beneath the robotaxi for 20 feet (6 metres) as it pulled over to the side of the road.

The critically injured female pedestrian was pinned beneath its rear wheels and had to be extracted from under the robotaxi with the help of the “jaws of life” by the Fire Department, before being taken to San Francisco General Hospital with “multiple traumatic injuries.”

Now according to the Bloomberg report, in the coming weeks Cruise will resume robotaxi testing, but focused more on Texas instead of California.

The Cruise unit is reportedly in talks with officials in several metro areas, including the two Texas cities, about resuming tests on public roads with safety drivers, two of the people told Bloomberg.

Before suspending operations over safety concerns last year, the company had hundreds of cars in San Francisco and smaller numbers in Austin,

Image credit: Cruise

“We have not set a timeline for deployment. Our goal is to relaunch in one city with manually driven vehicles and supervised testing as soon as possible once we have taken steps to rebuild trust with regulators and the public,” Cruise spokesperson Sara Autio said in a statement to Reuters.

The company is meeting with officials in select markets to “gather information, share updates and rebuild trust,” the spokesperson added.

Troubled times

Cruise has endued a tough period following the accident, having to perform recalls whilst being investigated by the SEC and US Department of Justice.

Cruise also cut a quarter of its staff, namely 900 jobs in December.

That same month Cruise dismissed nine key people amid a safety investigation, after Cruise was hit with a $1.5m penalty for allegedly failing to disclosure details about the accident. The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had alleged the firm tried to conceal how its robotaxi reacted to the accident for more than two weeks.

Among the dismissed Cruise executives was Chief Operating Officer Gil West. It came after Cruise also reportedly compelled its former CEO Kyle Vogt and chief product officer and co-founder Daniel Kan to step down.

This was topped off last month, when General Motors (GM) said it would scale back spending on its troubled Cruise division.

GM CEO Mary Barra told investors that General Motors would be cutting spending by about $1 billion at its Cruise division in 2024.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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