Cruise to resume rides after months-long pause following horrific robotaxi accident

Phoenix, Arizona - The robotaxi company Cruise has resumed manual driving on public roads six months after halting all its journeys in response to an accident involving a pedestrian in San Francisco.

Cruise vehicles are set to return to the road six months after one of the company's robotaxis hit and injured a pedestrian in San Francisco.
Cruise vehicles are set to return to the road six months after one of the company's robotaxis hit and injured a pedestrian in San Francisco.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The company, a subsidiary of General Motors, said in a blog post on Tuesday that it would resume "manual driving to create maps and gather road information in select cities, starting in Phoenix."

"This work is done using human-driven vehicles without autonomous systems engaged, and is a critical step for validating our self-driving systems as we work towards returning to our driverless mission," the company said. "This will help inform where we ultimately will resume driverless operations."

As a second step, the company said it will run "supervised autonomous driving tests on public roads." It will then be decided where the vehicles can travel without humans at the wheel.

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Cruise, a pioneer in robotaxi services with ambitious expansion plans, suspended all its journeys on public roads in response to an accident in early October, when one of its driverless cars dragged a woman for several feet.

The pedestrian was hit by another vehicle with a person at the wheel and thrown in front of the self-driving car. According to the accident report, the robotaxi braked immediately – but the woman still fell under the vehicle.

The Cruise cars are programmed so that in some cases they automatically pull over to the side of the road after collisions so as not to obstruct traffic. In this case, the software chose to follow this protocol even though the woman was still under the vehicle.

Cruise has emphasized that the restart will now focus on safety.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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