Workers assist Cruise 'autonomous' robotaxis every 2.5-5 miles

Occurred: November 2023

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Remote operators have to intervene every 2.5 to 5 miles driven by a Cruise robotaxi, calling into question whether they should be called 'autonomous'.

According to the New York Times, Cruise employs one and a half workers located in remote operations centres to support each vehicle, prompting AI expert Gary Marcus to question whether the revelation may prove Cruise to be the 'Theranos of AI'. 

'If Cruise’s vehicles really need an intervention every few miles, and 1.5 external operators for every vehicle, they don’t seem to even be remotely close to what they have been alleging to the public,' Marcus wrote. 'Shareholders will certainly sue, and if it’s bad as it looks, I doubt that GM will continue the project.'

In a post on Hacker News, then Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt responded by saying that Cruise robotaxis were remotely assisted '2-4 percent of the time on average, in complex urban environments', and that 'of those, many are resolved by the AV itself before the human even looks at things'.


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

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: January 2024