GM’s Cruise Recalls 80 Self-Driving Cars Due to Risk of Crash

By David Welch | September 1, 2022

General Motors Co.’s Cruise self-driving car unit has recalled an older version of software used by its robotaxis at the time of a crash in San Francisco in June, according to federal transportation regulators.

Cruise has updated the automated driving system, or ADS, software and all affected vehicles were repaired in July, the National High Traffic Safety Administration said in a report posted early Thursday on its website. The issue centered on situations in which the driverless cars turned left at traffic signals without a green arrow light.

“The software may, in certain circumstances when making an unprotected left, cause the ADS to incorrectly predict another vehicle’s path or be insufficiently reactive to the sudden path change of a road user,” the report said.

Cruise won permission from the California Public Utilities Commission on June 2 to charge fares late at night for its robotaxi service. The next day, one of its cars collided with a Toyota Prius while trying to make an unprotected left turn. The Prius driver was driving 40 miles an hour in a 25 mph zone.

The incident prompted both NHTSA and Cruise’s board to start asking questions, resulting in the recall filing. Cruise no longer uses that version of software, which was in use in 80 of its cars at the time of the accident.

“We submitted this voluntary filing in the interest of transparency to the public,” Cruise spokeswoman Hannah Lindow said in an email. “It pertains to a prior version of software and does not impact or change our current on-road operations.”

Separately, Cruise also has had to make fixes to its self-driving system after about a dozen cars all stopped in the same intersection in San Francisco, hemming other motorists in while the company sent employees to retrieve the cars.

–With assistance from Keith Laing.

About the photo: A Cruise vehicle in San Francisco, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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