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Cruise recalls self-driving taxis after vehicle dragged a pedestrian — CEO confirms layoffs ahead
Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Cruise recalls self-driving taxis after vehicle dragged a pedestrian — CEO confirms layoffs ahead

General Motors' Cruise is recalling its entire fleet of 950 self-driving taxis to conduct software updates, Forbes reported Wednesday.

In October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles announced the immediate suspension of the company's testing permits, citing safety concerns.

The department also accused Cruise of misrepresenting safety information regarding the self-driving technology used in its vehicles. The autonomous cars pose "an unreasonable risk to the public," the department claimed.

The DMV's decision did not impact Cruise's ability to continue testing vehicles with a safety driver behind the wheel. However, the company ultimately decided to shut down its entire fleet and pause deployments in Arizona and Texas.

An investigation by California and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was launched following an incident that resulted in a Cruise vehicle dragging a pedestrian.

"In the incident being reviewed by the DMV, a human hit and run driver tragically struck and propelled the pedestrian into the path of the AV. The AV braked aggressively before impact and because it detected a collision, it attempted to pull over to avoid further safety issues," Cruise said in a statement. "When the AV tried to pull over, it continued before coming to a final stop, pulling the pedestrian forward. Our thoughts continue to be with the victim as we hope for a rapid and complete recovery."

Cruise's recall seeks to implement a software update to its "Collision Detection Subsystem," which causes the vehicle to pull over instead of remaining stationary when a crash is detected. The National Highway Safety Administration claimed the software's current response may increase safety risks, Forbes reported.

During a Monday meeting, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt confirmed to staff that the company was preparing for layoffs, according to audio of the meeting obtained by Forbes.

"We are still working through what that means for the company and who's going to be affected by that and we don't have all the answers yet," Vogt said. "But what I can do is commit to providing more details within the next three weeks. So, importantly that's not when layoffs would occur for full time employees, that's when we're going to give you an update on what that timeline might be."

The CEO noted that the company was facing a "challenging moment."

"We recently announced a pause of all our driverless operations while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and improve how we operate. During this time we plan to seek input from our government and agency partners and other key stakeholders to understand how we can be better partners," Cruise said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company also detailed steps it is taking to ensure the safety of its vehicles. Cruise noted that it issued a voluntary software recall on all its cars, hired a chief safety officer, and retained a third-party law firm to review the pedestrian incident.

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