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Cruise pauses self-driving car fleet after CA revokes permits

The General Motors-owned tech startup Cruise said Thursday it was pausing all driverless operations across the U.S. The announcement came two days after the California DMV revoked Cruise’s permits to operate its fleet of autonomous vehicles following a crash in San Francisco where one of its cars dragged a pedestrian for 20 feet while she was pinned underneath the vehicle.
Cruise said it was pausing nationwide to try to “rebuild public trust” after the California Department of Motor Vehicles also accused the company of failing to disclose the full details of the Oct. 2 collision.
“In that spirit, we have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust,” Cruise said in a post on X.
In addition to California, Cruise operates in Arizona, Florida and Texas, according to a company spokesperson. Officials in those four states did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
Arizona had previously said it was monitoring the developments in California. Texas has no permitting process for autonomous vehicles, allowing companies such as Cruise to operate under state law similar to human-operated vehicles, according to the Texas DMV. Florida also has no permitting process.
In the Oct. 2 crash, a human who was driving in a lane next to a Cruise car struck a pedestrian, tossing the pedestrian into the path of the driverless Cruise, according to San Francisco police. The Cruise vehicle used its brakes but didn’t have enough time to avoid running over the pedestrian, the company said.
The Cruise vehicle stopped but then started again and drove 20 feet with the pedestrian under the car, according to a Cruise statement this week. Cruise said it shared the full video with state officials, but California DMV officials said they didn’t learn about the pedestrian being pulled under the car until another unspecified government agency told them.
Cruise said its vehicles are programmed to pull over in risky situations to ensure safety in compliance with California regulations.
The human driver who initially struck the pedestrian fled the scene and has not been located, according to Cruise. The pedestrian was taken to a hospital afterward in critical condition.
The incident was a rare example of a self-driving car involved in a serious injury, providing ammunition to critics of the technology who say it’s not safe. Supporters of driverless technology have argued that it has the potential to be much safer than human drivers, given that about 40,000 people die in the U.S. in traffic accidents each year.
Cruise, based in San Francisco, is one of two driverless car startups that has been operating a commercial ride-hailing service in the city — like the services of Lyft or Uber, but with no human drivers in the cars.
A Cruise spokesperson said Friday she had no other details to share, such as how long the voluntary freeze might last.
The other startup with a service in San Francisco, Google-affiliated Waymo, was unaffected by California’s decision. Waymo has operations in other states, too. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday on how the Cruise incident was affecting their thinking and their research.
Cruise said that the decision Thursday to halt all operations was not related to “any new on-road incidents” and that it would continue operating cars with safety drivers inside the cars.
“We think it’s the right thing to do during a period when we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to risk, relentlessly focused on safety, & taking steps to rebuild public trust,” the company said on X.

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