February 1, 2023
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The US has launched an investigation into GM Cruise vehicles’ self-driving system

By David Shepherdson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. auto safety regulators said on Friday they have opened an investigation into GM’s robot taxi company Cruz’s autonomous driving system in its vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it has received reports of incidents of autonomous vehicles “improperly braking or stalling.”

The company said the two issues “seem different, but each causes vehicles to hit unexpected roadblocks.” The safety agency’s preliminary evaluation includes 242 cruise autonomous vehicles and is the first step before a recall.

The investigation followed reports of three accidents involving cruise cars that suddenly braked and were rear-ended by other vehicles.

The company said, “Its vehicles have driven nearly 1 million kilometers fully autonomously in highly complex urban environments with no injuries or life-threatening fatalities. We will fully cooperate with NHTSA or any regulator.”

The agency said it plans to fully assess safety-related issues, reviewing the “safety reasonableness and consistency of hard braking incidents” and the “frequency, duration, and safety consequences associated with vehicle immobilization incidents.”

NHTSA said the issues “could present a number of potential hazards, such as a collision with a cruise vehicle, endangering stranded passengers exiting a stationary passenger vehicle, or disrupting traffic, including emergency vehicles.”

The agency said it had three reports of cruise vehicles’ autonomous steering system “initiating a hard braking maneuver in response to another road user speeding up from behind. In each case, the other road user then struck the rear of the vehicle equipped with the autonomous system”.

Cruz said police did not ticket their vehicles in all three collisions.

(By David Shepherdson)