GM’s autonomous taxi service, Cruise, has halted all self-driving operations across the country.

Cruise, the self-driving car division of General Motors, has halted its driverless operations across the country following concerns from California regulators about the safety of its driverless vehicles.

The license for Cruise, a transportation company operating in San Francisco, was revoked by the California Department of Motor Vehicles this week.

U.S. regulators are currently looking into Cruise following reports of potential hazards for pedestrians and passengers.

On Thursday night, Cruise, formerly known as Twitter, announced that they will temporarily stop using driverless vehicles in all of their fleets. This decision was made in order to review their procedures, technology, and resources and improve their operations to regain the trust of the public.

Cruise clarified that the decision to halt its driverless services is not due to any recent on-road accidents. The company will still operate its autonomous vehicles, or AVs, under human supervision, despite California’s ongoing suspension.

GM, a company with lofty aspirations for Cruise, has experienced a major setback this week. The car manufacturer based in Detroit had projected revenue of $1 billion from Cruise by 2025, a substantial increase from the $106 million earned in the previous year.

Cruise has also experimented with a robotaxi service in various locations, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Austin, Texas.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s license this week, citing concerns about the safety information provided by the company about their self-driving vehicles. The decision to revoke the license on Tuesday came after a number of incidents that raised concerns about the potential dangers and disruptions caused by Cruise’s autonomous taxis.

In recent weeks, a Cruise robotaxi was involved in a serious incident where it collided with a pedestrian who had already been struck by a human-driven vehicle. The pedestrian was trapped under the tire of the Cruise car when it stopped, and was dragged approximately 20 feet (six meters) as the car tried to drive away from the scene.

The DMV and other parties have alleged that Cruise failed to provide all video evidence of the accident at first, but the company has denied this claim and stated that they did in fact share the complete video with state and federal authorities. In a statement released on Tuesday, Cruise declared that they are working together with regulators to investigate the October 2nd accident and their engineers are developing methods for their robotaxis to better handle these infrequent incidents.

However, there are doubts about Cruise’s reaction to the accident and people are raising concerns about unanswered inquiries. Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina who specializes in automated vehicles, is curious about the knowledge and actions of Cruise and possibly GM after the incident.

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that they are looking into Cruise’s self-driving car department due to reports of incidents involving lack of caution towards pedestrians on roadways and crosswalks.

The Office of Defects Investigation at the NHTSA reported two cases of pedestrian injuries involving Cruise vehicles. They also found two more incidents from videos shared on public websites, but the exact number is uncertain.

Last December, the NHSTA initiated a separate investigation into complaints about Cruise’s self-driving vehicles abruptly stopping or ceasing movement, possibly leaving passengers stranded. The probe was prompted by three rear-end collisions allegedly caused by sudden braking by Cruise AVs.

A letter released on Thursday, dated Oct. 20, stated that the NHSTA has received five additional reports of Cruise AVs unexpectedly braking without any obstructions in front of them. In each instance, the AV was operating without human supervision and resulted in rear-end collisions.

“We are pleased to address the inquiries from NHTSA regarding our safety track record and operations,” stated Hannah Lindow, a representative for Cruise. “We have fully complied with all of their previous requests as part of the ongoing investigation and will continue to do so.”

Cruise has consistently claimed that its driverless miles have exceeded those of human drivers in terms of safety, particularly in regards to crash rates.

The recent halt of driverless operations for Cruise raises questions about the company’s future, as well as the future of autonomous vehicles in general. According to Walker Smith, there are various potential outcomes, such as differentiating Cruise from its competitors, especially those that have not expanded as quickly, or experiencing a similar situation to Tesla, where initial backlash may not result in immediate and significant alterations.

The recent news may have significant consequences for the industry. According to a source, it could contribute to the belief that automated vehicles and their companies are facing difficulties and not succeeding. This could worsen the concerns of cities like San Francisco, who are already wary of automated vehicles, and use it as evidence that the industry is out of control.

Cruise may potentially resume its driverless operations in the future. This will depend on the release of new information and the identification of specific action steps by Cruise in the coming days, according to Walker Smith.

According to Walker Smith, if a company cannot be trusted to deploy automated vehicles, they should not be allowed on our roads. He also pointed out that Cruise’s recent announcement specifically mentioned earning trust, and he believes they should clarify what that entails.


San Francisco-based AP technology journalist Michael Liedtke also provided input for this article.