The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the agency that regulates the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the state, requested that General Motors’ Cruise robotaxi business reduce its fleet by 50 percent in San Francisco after one of the driverless taxi service’s Chevrolet Bolts crashed with a fire truck last week.
According to TechCrunch, the state DMV is investigating “recent concerning incidents” involving Cruise vehicles in San Francisco and called for the robotaxi business to have no more than 50 driverless vehicles on the roads of the Golden Gate City during the day and 150 robotaxis in operation at night until the investigation is complete.
“Safety of the traveling public is the California DMV’s top priority,” the DMV said in a statement issued last week. “The primary focus of the DMV’s regulations is the safe operation of autonomous vehicles and safety of the public who share the road with these vehicles.”
"The DMV is investigating recent concerning incidents involving Cruise vehicles in San Francisco. The DMV is in contact with Cruise and law enforcement officials to determine the facts and requested Cruise to immediately reduce its active fleet of operating vehicles by 50% until the investigation is complete and Cruise takes appropriate corrective actions to improve road safety. Cruise has agreed to a 50% reduction and will have no more than 50 driverless vehicles in operation during the day and 150 driverless vehicles in operation at night.
The DMV reserves the right, following investigation of the facts, to suspend or revoke testing and/or deployment permits if there is determined to be an unreasonable risk to public safety.”
GM’s robotaxi business unit agreed to cut its fleet and published a blog post explaining the circumstances that led to the accident which saw a driverless Chevrolet Bolt EV collide with a fire truck that had its siren and emergency lights on.
Gallery: GM Cruise Driverless Taxi
Cruise says that the robotaxi identified the emergency vehicle almost immediately as it came into view and the remote operator noted that the vehicle started braking and reduced its speed, but was unable to avoid the collision. One passenger was present inside the vehicle at the time of the crash, sustaining “non-severe injuries” and being transported to the hospital for further investigations.
One week before the fire truck crash, both Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo were granted permission to operate their driverless taxis in San Francisco 24/7. Just one day after the approval, 10 Cruise AVs stopped in the middle of Grant Avenue because of wireless connectivity issues, blocking traffic in the area for 20 minutes. A few days later, another Cruise robotaxi drove through a construction site and got stuck in wet concrete.
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