The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, in connection with a number of incidents involving the company’s autonomous vehicles that carry a risk of accident.
The growing number of incidents prompted the City of San Francisco to file a complaint with federal regulators. In September, the San Francisco Transportation Agency sent a letter to the NHTSA after Cruise’s self-driving vehicles — upgraded Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles — suddenly braked hard or stopped, blocking traffic and interfering with emergency vehicles. However, city officials have expressed their willingness to continue allowing Cruise to operate autonomous vehicles on its roads.
An NHTSA spokesman said the investigation covers all Cruise autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, of which the agency estimates 242 units. It is possible that in the end, Cruise will have to withdraw robotic cars to carry out an update to the driver assistance system. The company already had to do this in September after an accident involving a robotic car that resulted in minor injuries to passengers.
Cruise attributes the incidents to the fact that the vehicles “predict and respond to the behavior of aggressive or erratic road users.” The company said it is working to minimize the risk of collision and injury to road users.
The NHTSA said the Vehicle Defects Investigation Authority will determine “the scale and severity of the potential problem and will fully assess the potential consequences associated with these two types of incidents (hard braking and sudden stop)”.
There are a number of incidents that have raised questions from the regulator. This summer, for example, several Cruise self-driving taxis suddenly stopped at a San Francisco intersection, blocking traffic for several hours. Or there was a case when the Cruise robocar, stopped by a policeman for a check, suddenly started moving and left when the policeman approached him.
If you notice an error, select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.