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Cruise suspends driverless operations

Updated October 30, 2023 - 7:13 pm

An autonomous vehicle company that recently started operations in Las Vegas announced it was stopping its nationwide driverless car operations after California regulators revoked its license.

Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company backed by General Motors, made the announcement Thursday night on X. The California Department of Motor Vehicles recently revoked the company’s license to operate robotaxis in the state since they posed “an unreasonable risk to public safety,” according to a statement from the state agency.

But Cruise’s announcement won’t impact Nevada as it only suspended truly driverless operations. The company said it would continue its operation of autonomous vehicles as long as they were supervised by humans.

“The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust,” said Cruise’s statement on the suspension of operations. “Part of this involves taking a hard look inwards and at how we do work at Cruise, even if it means doing things that are uncomfortable or difficult. In that spirit, we have decided to proactively pause driverless operations across all of our fleets while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and reflect on how we can better operate in a way that will earn public trust.”

In September the San Francisco-based company announced it would expand its operations to Clark County. Cruise said it would first use human drivers to collect data on Nevada roads before it would deploy its driverless vehicles. At the time, it hadn’t said when driverless vehicles would be on the roads.

A Cruise spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that in Nevada all the company has done is collect data on roadways and hasn’t started any fully autonomous rides. The company doesn’t have a timeline for when unsupervised rides could begin, the spokesperson said.

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles also didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry on if Cruise had launched driverless operations in the state and if any company’s vehicles have been involved in any traffic collisions or incidents.

Based on Zoox’s operations — another driverless vehicle company operating in Las Vegas which is backed by Amazon — it can take several years for a company to bring truly driverless cars to Nevada roads. Zoox started operating in Nevada in 2019 and first deployed its driverless vehicles on public roads this past June.

Cruise also is being investigated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for being a potential risk to pedestrians and passengers.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on X. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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