U.S. opens probe into GM Cruise autonomous driving system

WASHINGTON – U.S. car protection regulators claimed Friday they have opened a official basic safety probe into the autonomous driving technique in cars produced by Basic Motors’ robotaxi unit Cruise LLC.

The Countrywide Freeway Site visitors Protection Administration (NHTSA) mentioned it has obtained notices of incidents in which motor vehicles operated by Cruise “may well have interaction in inappropriately difficult braking or become immobilized.”

The agency mentioned when both of those troubles “appear to be distinctive, they each individual final result in the Cruise autos becoming unforeseen roadway road blocks.” The security agency’s preliminary analysis handles 242 Cruise autonomous cars and is the to start with action prior to it could search for a recall.

The investigation follows experiences of 3 crashes in which Cruise motor vehicles have been struck from driving by other cars and trucks immediately after the autonomous motor vehicles braked rapidly.

Cruise is providing limited provider in San Francisco with a compact fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs.

Cruise stated it has “pushed nearly 700,000 thoroughly autonomous miles in an particularly intricate city ecosystem with zero daily life-threatening accidents or fatalities…. There’s generally a equilibrium between healthy regulatory scrutiny and the innovation we desperately require to preserve lives, which is why we’ll proceed to fully cooperate with NHTSA or any regulator in reaching that shared aim.”

NHTSA reported it designs to entirely evaluate the opportunity basic safety-connected issues posed by these two kinds of incidents and will critique “the commonality and safety logic of the difficult braking incidents” and the “frequency, duration and security penalties linked with the vehicle immobilization incidents.”

Very last month, Cruise Main Working Officer Gil West advised Reuters the firm plans to enter a “huge range of markets” and scale operations up to “countless numbers of motor vehicles” in 2023.

NHTSA mentioned the problems “could introduce multiple prospective hazards these types of as a collision with a Cruise automobile, hazard to a stranded passenger exiting an immobilized Cruise car, or obstruction of other visitors including emergency vehicles.”

The agency claimed it has a few reports of Cruise vehicles automated driving process “initiating a tough braking maneuver in reaction to another street user that was swiftly approaching from the rear. In each and every case, the other road person subsequently struck the rear of the Advertisements-equipped car.”

Cruise explained police did not ticket their automobiles in any of the three crashes.

NHTSA explained it has been notified of several reviews involving Cruise vehicles running without the need of onboard human supervision getting to be immobilized, which “might strand motor vehicle travellers in unsafe spots, these types of as lanes of vacation or intersections, and develop into an unanticipated impediment to other street consumers.”

Cruise in September recalled and up-to-date software program in 80 self-driving motor vehicles right after a June crash in San Francisco that left two people today hurt. NHTSA mentioned the recalled software program could “incorrectly predict” an oncoming vehicle’s path. Cruise said it experienced decided this unusual scenario would not recur just after the update.

GM and Cruise in February disclosed they petitioned NHTSA for permission to deploy some self-driving vehicles without having steering wheels, mirrors, switch indicators or windshield wipers. That petition is continue to pending.

Francis McGee

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