Driverless vehicles are a common sight in San Francisco, and many residents have begun utilizing the new technology in lieu of taking an Uber or Lift. The cars are a point of major controversy, causing protests and many fears over public safety.
On Tuesday, October 24, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise LLC’s deployment and driverless testing permits effective immediately. The decision comes after various safety concerns, specifically when a pedestrian was tragically hit by a Cruise car in San Francisco in early October. The woman was struck by a hit-and-run driver and pushed into the path of the Cruise, which then hit the woman who was dragged by the Cruise car. as it attempted to pull over. Cruise released a blog post to their website regarding the incident, expressing their commitment to safety.
The DMV cited several reasons for suspending Cruise’s permit, including the “manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation” and “the manufacturer has misrepresented any information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles” in a press release.
There is no set time for the suspension of permits, and Cruise will have to reapply for necessary permits after addressing the DMV’s concerns. The DMV shared that the suspension does not apply to Cruise’s permits to test with a safety driver.
Autonomous vehicles are a controversial topic in San Francisco; many people reacted happily to the suspension. While many San Franciscans have adopted taking robo-taxis, many others are strongly against the cars, staging protests and blocking the vehicles. The suspension applies just to Cruise and does not affect all autonomous vehicles. Waymo’s self-driving cars are still operating in San Francisco after being allowed to operate 24/7 in San Francisco.