California authorities on Tuesday ordered Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, to stop its driverless taxi service in San Francisco after a series of traffic accidents.
The decision by the equivalent of the US state’s Detran (DMV) continues three turbulent months for Cruise. In one of the accidents, which occurred this month, a company car dragged a pedestrian 6 meters after a collision.
In early August, despite objections from San Francisco officials, state regulators allowed the company to expand its service in the city. But just over a week later, the DMV ordered Cruise to reduce its fleet in the city by half.
On October 2, a pedestrian was hit by a conventional car and then by a Cruise car, and was trapped under the autonomous vehicle. The car dragged the pedestrian until it managed to stop.
Cruise claimed that its car had “braked aggressively” and blamed the human driver for the incident.
In an initial meeting with Cruise after the crash, the DMV said the company showed footage from the car’s cameras that shows the autonomous vehicle coming to a complete stop after hitting the pedestrian.
DMV officials later discovered through “discussion with another government agency” that the pedestrian had also been dragged, according to a suspension order sent to Cruise.
In a statement, Cruise said it had shown the agency “the full video multiple times.”
The suspension is a major setback for Cruise, which began testing its self-driving cars in San Francisco several years ago and introduced a limited driverless taxi service in the city last year.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Cruise said it will pause its driverless operations in San Francisco and is working on improvements to the car’s technology.
The company can still test its self-driving cars in California, but they must have safety drivers who can take over in an emergency.
Cruise’s cars have drawn considerable criticism from local safety officials, who complained that they were becoming a nuisance, hindering firefighting and other emergency situations.
These complaints have become more intense in recent months as Cruise vehicles have been involved in several high-profile incidents.