Cruise AV injures pedestrian, has license revoked

Occurred: October 2023

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A Cruise self-driving car ran over a pedestrian who had been hit by another vehicle, pinning the individual under one of its tires.

On October 2, 2023, a hit-and-run in San Francisco ended with a pedestrian 'stuck' under a Cruise autonomous vehicle (AV) having been hit by another, human-driven car, and dragged 20 feet across the road. Cruise disabled the vehicle, enabling rescuers to get the vehicle off the woman’s leg.

Cruise initially pinned the blame on the driver of the other car, but later said its automated driving system 'inaccurately characterized the collision as a lateral collision and commanded the AV to attempt to pull over out of traffic, pulling the individual forward, rather than remaining stationary.'

The incident raised questions about the safety and integrity of Cruise's AV programme, and prompted California's Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend indefinitely Cruise's self-driving service after determining that its driverless cars were regarded as unsafe, and that the company had 'misrepresented' information related to the safety of its vehicles. 

A few days later, the New York Times later reported that Cruise's vehicles were 'supported by a vast operations staff, with 1.5 workers per vehicle,' calling into question the company's that its cars had been operating autonomously. In parallel, The Intercept discovered that Cruise's Collision Detection Subsystem had been struggling to detect children but the company continued to deploy its cars anyway.

On November 8, 2023, Cruise recalled all 950 of its cars in the form of an update to its Collision Detection Subsystem so that the vehicle remains stationary during certain crash incidents, rather than pulling over to the side of the road. 


Operator: GM Cruise
Developer: GM Cruise
Country: USA
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Automate steering, acceleration, braking
Technology: Self-driving system; Computer vision; Machine learning
Issue: Safety
Transparency: Governance; Marketing 

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: November 2023