Cruise Temporarily Pauses Autonomous Vehicle Operations in Austin

Cruise, a California-based autonomous vehicle company and subsidiary of General Motors, is temporarily suspending all operations of its vehicles on public roads in Austin. This includes vehicles that had human drivers overseeing the autonomous technology. The decision comes in the wake of a recent incident involving a Cruise vehicle in California, where a pedestrian was hit and dragged. Cruise has stated that it is committed to rebuilding public trust and ensuring the safety of its operations.

During this pause in on-road operations, Cruise plans to focus on closed-course training environments and simulation programs. The company aims to enhance its technology and address any concerns related to the safety and reliability of its autonomous vehicles.

Cruise had established a presence in Austin in September 2022 and started offering driverless ride-hailing services in certain areas of downtown, Central, and East Austin. However, viral videos showing Cruise vehicles causing traffic congestion and stoppages at intersections raised concerns among the public and City Council Member Zohaib “Zo” Qadri.

The incident in October, which led to the suspension of Cruise’s testing and deployment permits in California, involved a human-driven car colliding with a pedestrian crossing a street against a red light. The pedestrian was then struck by an autonomous Cruise vehicle that was unable to avoid the collision. Cruise has also faced scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding its precautions around pedestrians.

Alongside the temporary suspension, Cruise issued a voluntary software recall for 950 vehicles to address potential issues with post-collision response. The company is actively working to rectify any software-related concerns that may arise during these situations.

While Cruise’s autonomous vehicles are currently off the streets of Austin, other companies like Waymo, Volkswagen, and Argo AI (before its shutdown) continue to test their self-driving technologies in the city. These companies are committed to advancing autonomous vehicle capabilities and ensuring their safe integration into urban environments.

Q: Will Cruise vehicles be operating on Austin streets?
A: No, Cruise has temporarily suspended its autonomous vehicle operations in Austin, focusing on closed-course training and simulation programs during this pause.

Q: Is Cruise the only company testing self-driving vehicles in Austin?
A: No, other companies such as Waymo, Volkswagen, and Argo AI (before its shutdown) are currently testing autonomous vehicles in the city.