Cruise keeps getting kicked while it’s down. The General Motors-owned robotaxi company may face fines and sanctions after failing to disclose details of an October 2 incident — specifically that one of its vehicles dragged a pedestrian 20 feet, according to a ruling from a California agency.
The regulatory action comes as Cruise struggles to rebuild public trust and keep operations running after losing its permits to operate in California for allegedly withholding crucial information from regulators about a crash in San Francisco.
Over the past two months, Cruise paused all driverless and manual driving operations across the U.S., has implemented a safety review of its robotaxis, and tapped a law firm to examine its response to the incident. The company recalled its entire fleet and halted production on its Origin robotaxi. Its co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt stepped down, alongside chief product officer Daniel Kan.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Friday ordered Cruise to appear at a February 6 hearing to defend itself against accusations that it failed to provide “complete information to the Commission” regarding the incident, and “for making misleading public comments regarding its interactions with the Commission.”
On the evening of October 2, a human driver struck a pedestrian in San Francisco, the impact of which caused the pedestrian to fall in a Cruise robotaxi’s path. The AV instituted a hard-braking maneuver and came to a stop, but ended up running over the pedestrian in the process.
The CPUC — and the California Department of Motor Vehicles — says that order of events was shared with the agency. Cruise allegedly left out what came next. The Cruise AV attempted a pullover maneuver while the pedestrian was still stuck under the vehicle, resulting in them being dragged.
Per the CPUC’s ruling:
On October 3, 2023, Jose Alvarado of Cruise telephoned Ashlyn Kong, a CPED analyst at the Commission, and informed her of the collision. During this telephonic meeting, Mr. Alvarado’s description of the incident only included that the Cruise AV immediately stopped upon impact with the pedestrian and contacted Cruise’s remote assistance. Mr. Alvarado’s description of the October 2, 2023 incident omitted that the Cruise AV had engaged in the pullover maneuver which resulted in the pedestrian being dragged an additional 20 feet at 7 mph.
Over the next couple of weeks, the CPUC and the DMV issued data requests seeking more information of the incident, including video documentation. According to the CPUC, it took Cruise up to October 19, or a full 15 days, to provide the agency with the full video fo the incident.
After the incident, Cruise published a blog post, which it has since taken down, detailing the events. The company wrote in the post that it had “proactively shared information…including the full video” with various regulators, including the DMV, CPUC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Kong in a statement said that Cruise’s blog post was “inaccurate.”