The head of the American robotaxi company Cruise has resigned during the investigation into an accident involving a pedestrian in San Francisco. He now wants to spend time with his family and pursue new ideas, wrote Kyle Vogt on Monday night on the online platform X. After the accident, the cruise management’s information policy was also criticized. The company belongs to the car company General Motors. Vogt has been Cruise’s boss since February 2022.
In the accident at the beginning of October, a driverless Cruise car dragged a woman several meters. The pedestrian had previously been hit by another vehicle with a human behind the wheel and thrown in front of the self-driving car. According to the accident report, the robotaxi braked immediately – but the woman still fell under the vehicle.
Cruise changed the software for its approximately 950 vehicles
The cruise cars are programmed to automatically pull to the side of the road after collisions in some cases so as not to impede traffic. In this case too, the software decided to do this – even though the woman was still under the car. She was dragged around six meters and the car reached a speed of a good eleven kilometers per hour, according to a report from the California traffic authority. The woman survived with serious injuries.
Cruise has since changed the software for its approximately 950 vehicles so that the situation does not repeat itself. In addition, all journeys on public roads were in the USA exposed. However, the traffic authority criticized the fact that initially only the first part of the events was made public, but not the fact that the robotaxi tried to drive to the side of the road after the accident with the stuck woman.
San Francisco became a unique test case for self-driving taxis last year. In addition to Cruise, Google sister company Waymo also received permission from a Californian regulator this summer to expand its driverless transportation services throughout the city. The city administration and numerous residents spoke out against it. They argued, among other things, that the vehicles often blocked traffic. Waymo is allowed to continue offering its driverless robotaxi service throughout San Francisco.