A U.S. automotive safety regulatory body has launched an inquiry to determine if General Motors’ (GM.N) autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise, has taken adequate measures to protect pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that its Office of Defects Investigation received two incident reports from Cruise regarding pedestrians being injured. Additionally, the NHTSA identified two more incidents through publicly available videos.
The NHTSA explained that these reports involve Cruise’s autonomous vehicles coming too close to pedestrians on the road, including in pedestrian crosswalks. This proximity to pedestrians’ paths increases the risk of collisions, which could result in serious injuries or fatalities.
A Cruise spokesperson stated that the company maintains regular communication with the NHTSA and has consistently cooperated by providing requested information. The investigation follows an incident in San Francisco where a pedestrian was first struck by a hit-and-run driver and subsequently by a Cruise robotaxi, which was unable to stop in time.
Both U.S. and California authorities have been in discussions with Cruise concerning this incident. In August, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) initiated an investigation into other incidents involving Cruise vehicles in San Francisco, including a collision with an emergency vehicle.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted permission for robotaxis operated by Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo (GOOGL.O) to operate 24/7, despite facing opposition from residents and city agencies.