Cruise recalls 950 self-driving vehicles due to software glitch – Houston Public Media

Michael Minasi

Less than two weeks after suspending the operation of self-driving cars in Austin and across the country, General Motors-owned Cruise LLC is recalling 950 vehicles due to a software problem.

The defect could cause the cruise vehicle to stall after a crash in cases where the car should remain stopped, the company said in a regulatory filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The software glitch caused a cruise vehicle to continue driving after a crash involving a pedestrian in San Francisco last month that dragged the woman to the ground, Cruise said.

A driver crossing Market Street, a major thoroughfare in the city, struck the pedestrian on October 2. The force of the crash sent the woman into the path of a cruise vehicle. The driverless car hit the brakes, but still ended up running over the woman.

Emergency crews found the woman stuck under the rear wheels of the Cruise vehicle and had to use the “jaws of life” to get her out, San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The woman survived but had to be treated for serious injuries.

Later that month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles declared Cruise’s vehicles unsafe and revoked the company’s driverless testing permits.

Cruise began testing self-driving Chevy Bolts in Austin last year as part of the company’s CEO hailed as “the golden years of AV expansion.”

Cruise was among a handful of autonomous vehicle operators using the city as a testing ground. But the GM-backed company was the only one operating driverless vehicles without a backup driver in the car, city of Austin staff said.

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Reports surfaced for months on social media about cruise vehicles stopping on the road for no apparent reason. Gangs of deranged driverless robot axes would block entire city streets.

A self-driving Cruise car drives through the University of Texas at Austin campus on August 10, 2023
Cruise was the only autonomous vehicle company in Austin operating without a human behind the wheel, city officials say. Michael Minasi | CUT

Records obtained by KUT revealed the problems ran much deeper. First responders worried about cruisers getting too close to fire trucks, ignoring police directing traffic and trying to drive down closed streets.

Cities in Texas have been stripped of any authority to regulate self-driving vehicles. A 2017 law passed by the Texas Legislature established statewide regulations for autonomous vehicle companies, including a preemption of local ordinances.

Copyright 2023 KUT News.