Cruise Resumes Robotaxi Testing in Phoenix After Incident of Dragging Pedestrian Down San Francisco Street

Cruise robotaxi at night
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Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company backed by General Motors, has cautiously restarted its testing operations in Phoenix, Arizona, following a pedestrian-dragging incident in San Francisco that raised serious safety concerns.

The Verge reports that after a significant setback in October, when one of its driverless vehicles dragged a pedestrian over 20 feet in San Francisco, Cruise has taken a measured approach to resuming its autonomous vehicle testing. The incident, which occurred after the pedestrian was initially struck by a hit-and-run driver, led to accusations from regulators that the company had misled them about the severity of the situation.

In response to the incident, Cruise initially resumed testing with manually driven vehicles, focusing on tasks such as mapping and gathering road information. However, the company has now taken a step further by deploying two autonomous vehicles with safety drivers behind the wheel in Phoenix, a city known for its welcoming stance toward autonomous vehicle testing.

Tiffany Testo, a spokesperson for Cruise, stated that the company is also utilizing eight manually driven vehicles in the city. The service area is expected to gradually expand to include surrounding cities such as Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler, with progress being measured against predetermined safety benchmarks.

The pedestrian-dragging incident has had far-reaching consequences for Cruise, with several top executives, including founder and CEO Kyle Vogt, leaving the company, and approximately a quarter of the workforce being laid off. GM, Cruise’s parent company, has also announced plans to reduce its spending on the autonomous vehicle subsidiary, which has been a significant financial burden, with losses amounting to $3.48 billion in 2023.

An external report commissioned by the company revealed evidence of a culture of antagonism toward regulators, which may have contributed to the company’s failures. Despite these challenges, GM has chosen to continue supporting Cruise, signaling its determination to compete with other major players in the autonomous vehicle industry, such as Waymo and Tesla.

Read more at the Verge here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


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