- The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have opened investigations into the Oct. 2, 2023, incident in which a driverless Cruise robotaxi struck a woman and dragged her under the vehicle, the General Motors subsidiary revealed in a blog post published Thursday.
- Cruise also released a 195-page report it and GM commissioned from trial lawyers Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan detailing the accident, Cruise’s response to it and recommendations to Cruise and General Motors regarding crisis response, restoring credibility with regulators and ensuring regulatory compliance.
- The DOJ and SEC investigations come on top of existing investigations and inquiries by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission. An earlier investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles resulted in it suspending Cruise’s permits to operate autonomous vehicles in the state.
Cruise robotaxis operating in San Francisco racked up a list of complaints almost from the start of service in summer 2022, including stranded vehicles and erratic vehicle behavior. The driverless vehicles have also been accused of interfering with emergency vehicles.
The October accident began when the victim was struck by another vehicle and thrown into the path of the Cruise vehicle, which struck the pedestrian at 18.6 mph. The autonomous vehicle’s sensors were unable to properly detect the position of the pedestrian, according to a technical analysis included in the law firm’s report. The Cruise vehicle then maneuvered to a side lane at up to 7.7 mph, dragging the victim approximately 20 feet. The individual suffered serious injuries.
The report concluded that Cruise suffered from poor leadership, made mistakes in judgment, took an “us versus them” mentality with regulators and held a “fundamental misapprehension of Cruise’s obligations of accountability and transparency to the government and the public,” the blog post states. Cruise said it accepts the report's conclusions and will act on all recommendations.
Since the accident, Cruise has dismissed top executives, seen its CEO resign, laid off 24% of its workforce and shut down all robotaxi operations, which had been operating in San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston and Austin, Texas.
No further information was available about the status of the DOJ or SEC investigations.