Cruise, a General Motors subsidiary, will reduce its autonomous robotaxi fleet in San Francisco by 50% following a series of recent crashes involving its self-driving vehicles. The decision was communicated by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) after several incidents where Cruise autonomous cars stalled in intersections and even collided with a fire truck. Cruise’s robotaxi service started offering paid rides in San Francisco after receiving permission to operate driverless vehicles with paying passengers around the clock.
The reduction in the fleet is seen as a setback for Cruise and highlights the ongoing debate over driverless vehicles in the city. Critics argue that these vehicles can be hazardous and obstruct emergency responders, while proponents believe they offer an innovative and convenient transportation solution.
The DMV is investigating the incidents and requested Cruise to immediately scale back its fleet while the investigation is ongoing. Cruise has agreed to the reduction, limiting its fleet to a maximum of 50 autonomous vehicles during the day and 150 during the evening. This is a significant decrease from the 300 vehicles it was operating at night and 100 during the day.
Cruise’s San Francisco general manager, Greg Dietrerich, addressed the recent collision with a fire truck in a blog post, pointing out various contributing factors and highlighting the need for improved interactions between autonomous vehicles and emergency vehicles.
These incidents emphasize the challenges and complexities of integrating autonomous vehicles into urban environments, particularly in situations involving emergency responders and complex road conditions.
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