GM-backed Cruise autonomous vehicle under scanner for crash; causing injuries
Though autonomous vehicles have come a long way, they still need a lot more improvement in terms of safety and functioning. A recent crash involving a Cruise autonomous taxi and another vehicle in San Francisco is a harsh reminder that the technology is far from perfect. Following this incident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a special crash investigation.
The crash took place just a day after Cruise received the green light to operate and offer services in San Francisco. As per a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, a Cruise taxi was in autonomous mode and stopped in traffic when the crash took place with a Toyota Prius. The latter broadsided the autonomous taxi, causing major damage to its rear and side in the incident.
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It is unclear why did the Cruise autonomous taxi stop in the traffic but the incident caused injuries to occupants of both the vehicles involved in the crash.
This investigation is NHTSA's 45th one that the agency has opened sine 2016 but the first such for Cruise. The agency has been increasing its scrutiny of automakers' semi-self-driving and advanced driver-assist technologies. These technologies still require a lot of work and fine-tuning.
Though this is the first such investigation opened by NHTSA for Cruise, this is not the first time it has landed in a soup with authorities. Earlier in April, police officials had to stop a driverless Cruise taxi for failing to have its headlights turned on. In late June, more than a dozen Cruise taxis blocked a San Francisco street that required the company's staff to come and drive them to put them back on roads.