Cruz recalls all cars after San Francisco crash

SAN FRANCISCO — In the latest setback for General Motors-owned Cruze, the driverless car company voluntarily recalled 950 of its vehicles nationwide after a fatal crash here last month and signaled layoffs could be coming.

The latest developments come after one of Cruise’s self-driving cars failed to detect a pedestrian pinned under its vehicle and dragged about 20 feet, causing serious injuries.

Cruise issued a recall on Tuesday to fix programming on its entire driverless fleet, saying it would address a “post-collision response” that “increases the risk of injury.” The company has already grounded its entire driverless fleet across the country after last month’s pedestrian accident. Something the Cruze doesn’t have a driver for The cars pulled over the pedestrian, something the company initially misrepresented as what happened during the Oct. 2 crash.

A filing In announcing the recall to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday, Cruise said the software update will improve its “collision detection subsystem” to better determine whether it should stay or leave traffic after a crash, depending on the nature of the incident. . Unlike a traditional recall that usually involves hardware, recalls like these for autonomous vehicles come in the form of software updates.

“Cruise has developed a software update that resolves the issue” that caused pedestrians to pull over on Oct. 2, according to the NHTSA filing. “With the new update, Cruise AV would have been stable during the October 2 incident.”

Cruz said the update was given to his cars still on the road with test drivers. While it’s unclear when it will be operational, the company said it will “deploy a solution” for its driverless fleet before resuming driverless operation.

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The Oct. 2 crash occurred when a jaywalking pedestrian entered a busy intersection in San Francisco and was struck by a human-operated car. The pedestrian rolled for several minutes in the windshield before being thrown into the path of the driverless car. Footage of the crash, initially shared by Cruz with the Washington Post, other media outlets and the California Department of Motor Vehicles, showed the driverless car stopping after making contact with the pedestrian.

But several weeks later, the California DMV learned that its investigators had continued to drive at 7 mph with the woman pinned about 20 feet beneath her. That maneuver could increase pedestrian injuries, the DMV said. A spokeswoman for San Francisco’s Department of Public Health said the woman remained hospitalized as of Wednesday.

In announcing the recall to NHTSA, Cruz said of the software flaw, after a collision is detected in certain situations, the system will automatically try to pull the car out of traffic “instead of staying stable when the pullover is not desired. Post-collision response.”

“This problem can occur after a collision with a pedestrian positioned low to the ground in the path of the AV,” the company said.

In light of the Oct. 2 crash, the California DMV suspended Cruz’s driverless permits last month after investigators determined the robotaxis posed an “unreasonable risk” to the public.

In an interview with The Post last month, Cruise Chief Executive Kyle Vogt said criticism of driverless cars has been rampant and that many of the incidents involving his company were “exciting.” But the hard-charging CEO has changed his tune in recent weeks, telling employees that layoffs are possible as the company tries to rebuild public trust, according to an audio recording of a Nov. 6 meeting. Retrieved from Forbes.

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“We’re still working through what that means for the company and who’s going to be affected, and we don’t have all the answers,” he said, according to a transcript obtained by Forbes. “But what I can do is promise to provide more details within the next three weeks. So, essentially, not when the layoffs happen to full-time employees; that’s when we’re going to give you an update on what that timeline is going to be.”

A person familiar with Cruise’s plans confirmed the content of the audio recording.

Wednesday in a separate blog post, also outlined the steps the company says it is taking after the Oct. 2 crash. That includes hiring a chief security officer and engaging an outside law firm to “better understand Cruz’s response to the Oct. 2 incident, including Cruz’s interactions with law enforcement, regulators and the media.”

“We’re dedicated to creating a better journey, and these initial steps are just a few steps as we listen, learn and improve,” the company said. In a blog post. “We are committed to keeping our customers, regulators and the public informed throughout this process.”

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