Does Cruise’s AV Check Other Drivers’ Brakes? The feds are investigating [Updated]

Zoom in / ATV cruises the streets of San Francisco.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Update, 1:37 p.m. ET: Cruise reached out to Ars with the following statement: “Cruise’s safety record has been publicly reported and includes driving nearly 700,000 fully autonomous miles in a highly complex urban environment with no life-threatening injuries or fatalities. This is against the backdrop of more than 40,000 fatalities each year on American Ways There is always a balance between health regulatory scrutiny and innovation that we desperately need to save lives, which is why we will continue to cooperate fully with NHTSA or any regulator in achieving this common goal.”

The original story: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the Robotax Cruze after several crashes involving self-driving vehicles that were behind. NHTSA’s Office of Investigation of Defects has opened an investigation into the GM-powered Automated Driving Start self-driving system and the potential tendency to brake inappropriately if another vehicle is rapidly approaching from behind. NHTSA’s ODI is also looking into incidents where Cruise’s AV vehicles have stalled and become hazards on immobile roads.

Cruise is one of the leading AV developers and, along with Alphabet’s Waymo, has deployed a true driverless robotic hub, albeit on a small scale so far. It’s developing a futuristic box on wheels called Origin, which it hopes will hit the road without The wheel is in 2023. But for now, the company is testing it out on the streets of San Francisco with modified Chevrolet Bolt EVs.

There were a few scrapes and bumps along the way, and earlier this year, footage of a Cruze AV appeared to be driving away from a traffic stop after it was pulled over for not turning on its headlights at night.

In August of this year, Cruise had to recall 80 Autopilot-equipped vehicles due to the possibility that the software braked too hard when performing an unprotected left turn.

Cruz origin.
Zoom in / Cruz origin.

Sea trip

Cruise says this happened only once out of more than 123,560 unprotected left turns, but “when Cruise AV turned left and began to pass the intersection, Cruise AV predicted that the oncoming vehicle, which was going about 40 mph on the 25th mph right-turning into the lane, it will turn right and straight into the lane of Cruise AV.After Cruise AV brakes to avoid hitting the front end of an oncoming vehicle, the oncoming vehicle suddenly moves out of the right-turning lane and flashes straight through an intersection, hitting the rear right quarter panel of Cruise AV.”

As an aside, this is a real-world example of a trolley problem, where the AV “had to decide between two different hazard scenarios and choose the one with the least likelihood of a serious collision occurring at the time, before the oncoming vehicle’s sudden change of direction,” according to the NHTSA safety recall report.

The new investigation covers 242 vehicles and follows three reports of aggressive braking maneuvers on the heels of another vehicle rapidly approaching from behind. NHTSA says that in each case, the other road user terminated Cruise AV.

In addition, NHTSA says it has received multiple reports of Cruise AVs being stranded on the road, which is dangerous for any passengers who might have to evacuate a vehicle blocking a road or intersection and for other road users who now have to negotiate a new vehicle. big obstacle in their way.

NHTSA says its initial investigation “will determine the scope and severity of the potential problem and fully assess the potential safety issues posed by these two types of accidents. The ODI assessment will include the commonalities and safety rationale for hard braking incidents.”

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