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California DMV suspends Cruise’s robotaxi permits due to safety concerns

Published Oct 24th, 2023 4:10PM EDT

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Right after Cruise announced a huge expansion overseas, its robotaxi service is being shut down in California.

In a statement by the California DMV, the agency announced that it is suspending the company’s self-driving permits in the state “effective immediately.” According to the agency, the service is being shut down in the state due to multiple safety concerns — mainly due to the number of accidents that its self-driving vehicles have been involved in.

The DMV says that “when there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits,” indicating that it is able to suspend Cruise’s robotaxi service without any delay. According to the statement, the company is able to reapply for a permit after it has “fulfilled the requirements to the department’s satisfaction.”

The California DMV today notified Cruise that the department is suspending Cruise’s autonomous vehicle deployment and driverless testing permits, effective immediately. The DMV has provided Cruise with the steps needed to apply to reinstate its suspended permits, which the DMV will not approve until the company has fulfilled the requirements to the department’s satisfaction. This decision does not impact the company’s permit for testing with a safety driver.

The California DMV says that the company’s permits have been revoked based on the following:

  • Based upon the performance of the vehicles, the Department determines the manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation.
  • The manufacturer has misrepresented any information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles.
  • Any act or omission of the manufacturer or one of its agents, employees, contractors, or designees which the department finds makes the conduct of autonomous vehicle testing on public roads by the manufacturer an unreasonable risk to the public.
  • The department shall immediately suspend or revoke the Manufacturer’s Testing Permit or a Manufacturer’s Testing Permit – Driverless Vehicles if a manufacturer is engaging in a practice in such a manner that immediate suspension is required for the safety of persons on a public road.

In a statement to The Verge, Cruise spokesperson Hannah Lindow confirmed that the company is immediately pausing its driverless operations in San Francisco:

“We learned today at 10:30 am PT of the California DMV’s suspension of our driverless permits. As a result, we will be pausing operations of our driverless AVs in San Francisco. Ultimately, we develop and deploy autonomous vehicles in an effort to save lives.”

The news comes a week after the company announced that it is developing a new robotaxi model with GM and Honda that is supposed to launch in Japan in 2026. It’s unclear if this news will impact that plan. It also comes a couple of weeks after Waymo, a competing robotaxi service, expanded its operations in — you guessed it — San Francisco.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.