Cruise 'Misled' Frisco Robo-Taxi Accident Investigators

General Motors' driverless technology unit admits unintentional actions led to accusations of misleading investigation into pedestrian collision.

Paul Myles, European Editor

January 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Cruise Autonomous SF
Cruise says the public's faith in service has been shaken.

Driverless robo-taxi operator Cruise admits it unintentionally misled investigators in the immediate aftermath of an accident that saw its vehicle drag a pedestrian under its wheels while attempting to park.

General Motors’ autonomous technology unit makes the comments while acknowledging that U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutors are investigating its handling of an accident involving one of its driverless cars, reports the BBC.

The October 2023 incident saw a female pedestrian thrown into the path of the robo-taxi in San Francisco after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. While the automated vehicle had no time to avoid the woman, afterwards video evidence shows it performing a parking maneuver that dragged the victim a further 20 ft. (6 m), exacerbating her injuries.

Cruise, which has suspended all its robo-taxi services throughout the U.S., says in a company blog that a study it commissioned by law firm Quinn Emanuel revealed its actions in the aftermath of the accident fell “woefully short.”

The extensive company blog adds, “We are profoundly remorseful both for the injuries to the pedestrian, as well as for breaching the trust of our regulators, the media, and the public.”

Quoting the law firm’s report, Cruise admits: “…the review also shows Cruise failed to update the press statement or share the full video once it became aware of these facts… Even after obtaining the Full Video, Cruise did not correct the public narrative but continued instead to share incomplete facts and video about the Accident with the media and the public. This conduct has caused both regulators and the media to accuse Cruise of misleading them…. As one Cruise employee stated in a text message to another employee about this matter, our “leaders have failed us.”

However, the report says it had not found evidence to date that Cruise leadership or personnel intended to deceive or mislead when they briefed regulators on the accident.

The fallout from the incident has seen senior executives leave the company and plans to cut about 24% of its staff, roughly 900 jobs.

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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