Cruise, the self-driving car company owned by General Motors (GM), was forced to suspend operations last week after California regulators revoked its license over safety issues.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) said Cruise had provided false or misleading information about the performance of its autonomous technology, which had recently started carrying passengers in San Francisco, an AP report said.
The GM-owned company is also facing scrutiny from federal authorities, who are investigating reports of possible dangers to pedestrians and passengers from its driverless cars. At stake was an incident in which a human driver struck a pedestrian, throwing her in front of a Cruise vehicle. The robotaxi stopped, but then restarted to pull over to a safe zone. When the car started moving again, it dragged the woman for 6 meters at a top speed of 11 kilometers per hour.
Earlier to the DMV suspension, Cruise also decided to halve its driving fleet in San Francisco after the California DMV ordered it to limit its fleet by a maximum of 50 by day and 150 by night. The automotive company said it had decided to “proactively pause driverless operations across all fleets” in order “to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust.”
“The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust,” said Cruise spokesman Aaron McLear cited by Bloomberg. “Part of this involves taking a hard look inwards and at how we do work at Cruise, even if it means doing things that are uncomfortable or difficult. We think it’s the right thing to do during a period when we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to risk, relentlessly focused on safety, and taking steps to rebuild public trust.”
Cruise has invested around $1.4 billion of the $1.7 billion in cash on hand this year. With the ongoing crisis, this means GM will have to put new money in to keep it going within three quarters, Bloomberg said. The worst for Cruise, perhaps, is not getting its license back and to risk seeing its rival, Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo the only self-driving taxi business in California.