Cruise Self-Driving Cars Suspended in San Francisco

The California DMV cited safety issues as the reason for the suspension.

October 26, 2023

The California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s autonomous driving permit, citing safety issues with the vehicles, reported NPR. Cars that have a human safety driver will be allowed to continue operating.

"When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits," the DMV wrote in a statement. "There is no set time for a suspension."

The DMV originally gave the company a permit for 300 driverless cars in San Francisco, but in August cut the number in half after a vehicle struck a firetruck.

Driverless cars run by Cruise have reportedly been involved in numerous incidents in San Fransico over the past several months, including running red lights, rear-ending a bus, blocking crosswalks and bike paths and last month, striking a pedestrian, reported NPR. The pedestrian was first struck by a human driver before landing in front of a Cruise car, which braked but continued to roll over the woman before fulling stopping on top of her.

"Our teams are currently doing an analysis to identify potential enhancements to the AV's response to this kind of extremely rare event," said Navideh Forghani, a Cruise spokesperson. Forghani also said that the company is complying with the DMV’s order to “pause operations.”

The California DMV issued two permits to Cruise, one for testing and one for deployment, reported the Wall Street Journal. The testing permit for the company has been suspended alongside its driverless vehicle deployment.

In California, driverless cars are regulated by the DMV and the state’s Public Utilities Commission, which oversees requirements for using autonomous driving technology to provide transportation for the public. The commission has suspended Cruise’s authority to carry passengers following the DMV suspension and is also independently investigating the events, said the Journal.

General Motors, the parent company of Cruise, has heavily invested in self-driving technology. GM bought Cruise in 2016 for $1 billion.

“We do believe that Cruise has tremendous opportunity to grow and expand,” said GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra this week. “Safety will be our gating factor as we do that.”