Cruise Was Left Without Its Autonomous Cars After Withholding Evidence of a Hit-and-Run. Getting Them Back on the the Streets Will Cost It $112,500

  • According to Bloomberg, Cruise has spent over $1.4 billion on its technology.

  • A significant number of people continue to express their disapproval of the company.

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After several accidents and confrontations with the general public, California revoked the license of self-driving car company Cruise, issued in October 2023, which allowed it to operate its autonomous cars on the road. Now, The Drive claims to know how much it’ll cost General Motors, Cruise’s parent company, to get its cars back on the road. How much money, that is.

20 months. General Motors’s license that allowed Cruise’s cars to drive on California streets only lasted 20 months, from February 2022 to October 2023. During this time, the company went through several phases.

Nearly nine months ago, regulators informed General Motors that it had to remove its cars from the road. The company was also under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) while trying to enter new markets in Phoenix, Arizona, and Austin, Texas.

A growing discontent. Initially, there was some resistance to the introduction of fully autonomous taxi cabs in California. Then, opposition among citizens continued to grow.

In fact, frustrated by the traffic delays caused by these vehicles, some individuals resorted to simple tactics to disrupt their operation. Placing a traffic cone on the vehicle’s hood would bring it to a halt, while wearing a T-shirt with a stop sign could confuse the autonomous cars. Waymo, a rival of Cruise, referred to these acts as “vandalism.”

The tipping point. As time went on, traffic congestion and blocked streets became minor concerns. This changed when a traffic jam caused by a Cruise car inevitably led to delays in the response times of emergency services teams.

The situation was even worse after some Cruise vehicles came close to colliding with the fire trucks, as well as an accident that led to the company’s license being revoked. In October, a woman was hit by a car on the streets of San Francisco. The driver fled the scene, leaving her on the ground without help. Then, a Cruise car stopped on top of the victim.

It later emerged that Cruise refused to share the footage of the hit-and-run. Reports revealed that the company didn’t want to admit that the car initially braked when it sensed the woman but then accelerated, running her over and dragging her along the ground.

A $112,500 fine. Authorities now know that Cruise attempted to conceal the hit-and-run incident. Using a cropped video, it claimed that the car had stopped and correctly reported the situation to its control center. However, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) revealed that the company withheld the full video for two weeks.

According to The Drive, Cruise was fined $7,500 for each day the video was withheld, resulting in a total penalty of $112,500 after 15 days.

Comeback under new terms. The Drive also reports that General Motors will have to submit a monthly report documenting every instance in which one of its vehicles is involved in an emergency or obstructs traffic.

Additionally, Cruise still needs to address some questions from California regulators. However, by making this payment, the company will avoid going to trial for the accident that resulted in the revocation of its license. This incident also led to the resignation of Kyle Vogt, its CEO at the time, after the company admitted to collaborating with authorities while concealing evidence.

Image | Cruise

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