After a series of incidents involving Cruise robotaxis, California has decided to halt their operation in the state effective immediately. Cruise is one of two companies (the other is Waymo, owned by Google’s parent company) with driverless taxi fleets in California; the suspension order issued by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles does not impact Waymo. “The California DMV today notified Cruise that the department is suspending Cruise’s autonomous vehicle deployment and driverless testing permits, effective immediately,” the agency said in a statement to NBC News. One of the most high-profile incidents took place on October 2, when a San Francisco pedestrian was hit by another vehicle (whose driver fled the scene and remains at large) and thrown into the path of a Cruise robotaxi, which then dragged her about 20 feet. She survived the incident.
In its suspension order, the DMV accuses Cruise of failing to disclose the full details of that incident to the DMV and the California Highway Patrol at a meeting the day after it happened. The DMV says that while the Cruise robotaxi did brake after hitting the pedestrian, it then attempted to pull over while the woman was still caught underneath the car, dragging her, SFGate reports. The DMV says Cruise withheld the portion of video from the car’s onboard cameras that showed that part of the incident until the DMV asked for it 10 days later. Cruise denies that allegation and says it provided the complete video right away. Even before this latest incident, Cruise robotaxis have been accused in other serious incidents as well as smaller issues like clogging traffic. The DMV has issued Cruise with requirements to reinstate its permits, and says it can still test its cars as long as safety drivers ride along. (Read more California stories.)