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GM Cruise’s Autonomous Driving System Is Being Probed By The U.S.

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GM Cruise's Autonomous Driving System Is Being Probed By The U.S.

(CTN News) – U.S. auto safety regulators announced Friday that they have begun a formal investigation into General Motors Cruise LLC’s autonomous driving system, which is fitted to its cars.

In a statement issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the group said it had received reports of incidents in which vehicles operated by Cruise have engaged in inappropriately hard braking or have become immobilized.

Although both issues appear to be distinct, the safety agency says both of them can result in the vehicles becoming unexpected road obstacles for drivers.

The preliminary evaluation covers 242 Cruise autonomous vehicles and is the first step in seeking a recall of the vehicles.

An investigation has been launched following reports of three incidents where Cruise vehicles were struck from behind by other vehicles. This was as a result of them braking quickly after being notified.

It has been announced that Cruise is launching a limited service in San Francisco with its small fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs.

There have been no life-threatening injuries or fatalities reported by Cruise in the nearly 700,000 miles driven by its fully autonomous vehicles in a complex urban environment.

There needs to be a balance between healthy regulatory scrutiny and the innovation we desperately need to save lives. That is why we will continue to work closely with NHTSA and any other regulators to help reach that shared goal.

A detailed analysis of the potential safety-related issues that could arise from these two types of incidents will be conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which will examine “the commonality and safety logic of harsh braking incidents” as well as “the frequency, duration and safety consequences associated with vehicle immobilization incidents.”

Reuters reported last month that Cruise Chief Operating Officer Gil West told reporters the company plans to enter a “large number of markets” and scale up operations to “thousands” of vehicles by 2023.

The NHTSA has indicated that these issues could provide several potential hazards, including a collision with a Cruise vehicle. In addition, the risk of stranded passengers attempting to exit an immobilized vehicle, or the obstruction of other traffic, including emergency vehicles.

It has received three reports that Cruise vehicles’ automated driving system had initiated a harsh braking maneuver. This was in response to another vehicle approaching from behind at a very fast speed.

Each time the other road user hit the rear of the ADS-equipped vehicle, the other road user struck the rear of the vehicle.

According to Cruise, the police in none of the three crashes ticketed their vehicles for causing the collisions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, multiple reports have been received of  vehicles that have become immobile when they were operating without onboard human supervision.

This has resulted in stranding passengers in unsafe locations such as lanes of traffic or intersections, and becoming an unexpected obstacle to other road users.

A June accident in San Francisco, which resulted in the injury of two people, prompted Cruise to recall and update the software on 80 self-driving vehicles in September.

It has been reported by the NHTSA that the recalled software may have been able to predict the path of an oncoming vehicle incorrectly.

After the update, Cruise said it was able to determine that this unusual scenario would not occur again in the future.

GM in February made public the fact that they had petitioned the NHTSA for permission to deploy some self-driving cars without steering wheels, mirrors, turn signals, or windshield wipers. It is still unclear whether that petition will be granted.

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