According to a safety report posted on carandbike.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that it has initiated a safety investigation into GM Cruise’s Autonomous Driving System. The NHTSA stated that the probe was launched after it had received several notices describing the self-driving Cruise vehicles as engaging in inappropriately hard braking or becoming immobilized. The issue creates an unsafe condition that could lead to a severe motor vehicle accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety regulators reported the formal safety probe into the self-driving system in vehicles manufactured by General Motors’ robotaxi division Cruise LLC following two rear-end crash reports received. Moreover, there were people who suffered injuries in those two accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that while the two mechanical issues appear to be separate, they can cause the Cruise vehicles to become unsafe roadway obstacles. The NHTSA’s preliminary probe will examine 242 Cruise autonomous motor vehicles, and this is the first step prior to a recall. The Cruise investigation follows reports of three other accidents in which GM Cruise vehicles were hit from the rear by other motor vehicles due to the autonomous vehicles braking too hard.
Cruise offers limited service in San Francisco, and the company has a small fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles. Cruise announced that it had received the first of the two California permits it needs to serve all of San Francisco. The company stated that its vehicles had traveled at least 700,000 fully autonomous miles without fatal or life-threatening crashes.
The NHTSA announced that the agency plans to evaluate the potential safety-related issues involving these two types of incidents, and it would review the frequency and safety concerns associated with the hard braking incidents and the vehicle immobilization issues.
San Francisco safety officials have not commented on the NHTSA’s safety investigation. This could create a setback to Cruise’s deployment timetables.
NHTSA reported that these safety concerns could introduce several additional safety concerns, including collisions with stranded passengers exiting an immobilized Cruise electric vehicle or crashes caused by the vehicles obstructing traffic. The NHTSA reported that it has three incident reports of Cruise vehicles’ driving systems causing rear-end collisions due to its abrupt braking problem.
Cruise has already recalled, and updated software in about 80 self-driving electric vehicles after a San Francisco crash injured two passengers. Cruise stated that it had decided this unusual situation would not happen again after that system update.
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