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A taxi without a driver cruises in San Francisco, California on July 24, 2023.
Cruise, the self-driving vehicle division of General Motors, revealed today that it is the subject of two federal investigations into its actions after a serious accident involving a Cruise “robotaxis.”
According to a Cruz blog post, the company is being investigated by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the latest setback in the auto industry's push to perfect driverless cars.
An investigation and report released today by Cruise and GM found no evidence that Cruise employees or executives lied or misled regulators about the 2023 pedestrian accident, but they also did not provide details about what happened.
In meetings with regulators after the Oct. 2 incident, Cruz officials tried to show the entire video of the impact captured from the car. But “technical issues” prevented regulators from seeing everything clearly, the report said. Cruise has not indicated to regulators the details of what actually happened.
California regulators later discovered that a passenger vehicle had dragged a woman 20 feet across the asphalt, causing serious injuries following the impact. Cruise's permits to test fully autonomous vehicles were suspended in California.
Cruz later halted all testing across the United States and has not resumed those operations.
Cruise's chief executive and other executives also resigned and the company It laid off nearly a quarter of its workforce After the 2023 incident.
Cruise hired the Queen Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm to investigate the incident and Cruise's response to it. This report is the result of that investigation.
The investigation concluded, “The reasons for Cruz's failure in this instance are many: poor leadership, errors in judgment, lack of coordination, an 'us vs. them' mentality with regulators, and a fundamental misunderstanding of Cruz's obligations to accountability and transparency. government and the public,” Cruz said in a summary of the report.
Before the accident, Cruise was a leader in the development of self-driving cars. It plans to expand so-called “robotaxis” to a dozen or more cities by 2024. GM CEO Mary Parra has said she is focused on a self-driving future. But this incident acted as a major setback.
The report states that the cruise staff themselves were unaware that the woman had been dragged away immediately after the incident. Initially, Cruise staff focused on correcting media reports that the Cruise vehicle was the first to hit the woman. In fact, the pedestrian was hit first by the human-driven Nissan, and the impact sent her into the path of the cruise car.
Even after people at the company learned that the woman had been dragged by a Cruise car, Cruise did not update its news reports or release the full video to reporters, the report said.
Its failures in communication were attributed to Cruz's “myopic focus” on addressing mistakes on initial impact.
“We acknowledge that we have failed to live up to the reasonable expectations of regulators and the communities we serve,” Cruz wrote in it. Blog post on the report. “In doing so, we fell woefully short of our own expectations.”
Cruz told CNN he was fully cooperating with federal investigations but could not comment on them.
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