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Cruise’s $100K Fine: What They Didn’t Tell You About Their Robotaxi Mishaps

Robotaxi company Cruise
Caught hiding accident information
Sentenced to a fine of more than $100,000

Scene of a Cruise self-driving taxi accident. Fox Business

Fully self-driving technology that does not require driver intervention may feel like something from the distant future. However, self-driving taxis and shuttles are routinely operated around the world. A representative example is the robotaxi (self-driving taxi) operated by Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors.

However, contrary to public expectations at launch, Cruise’s image is rapidly deteriorating due to casualties caused by significant and minor accidents. Ultimately, the authorities, who realized the dangers of self-driving taxis, put the brakes on them and are said to have recently imposed a fine on the company.

Scene of a Cruise robotaxi pedestrian accident. WSJ
Scene of a Cruise robotaxi pedestrian accident. The Washington Post

Pedestrian death accident
Increased from the existing fine

According to a report by the foreign news agency Automotive News on June 22, 2024 (local time), Cruz was ordered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to pay a fine of $112,500 within this month. The previously imposed fine was $75,000 (about 104 million won), but the decision was made in response to the increase in the maximum fine in February 2024.

Cruz was fined because they did not provide timely and complete information about the self-driving vehicle accident. Previously, a Cruz robotaxi ran over a pedestrian in downtown San Francisco on October 2, 2023, causing death. At that time, it was reported that the victim had been hit by another vehicle earlier, fell on the road, and was then run over by a Cruz robotaxi.

San Francisco Chronicle
Cruise robotaxi garage. NPR

Step on pedestrians and keep driving
This information is missing from the report

The problem was the robotaxi’s movement after hitting the victim. The Cruz robotaxi stepped on the victim and continued dragging her for about 7 meters (23 feet), and the seriously injured victim died during treatment. Since then, Cruise has shown unscrupulous behavior, including concealing important information. According to a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) report issued at the time, the person in charge of Cruz reported the accident to the CPUC, which authorized commercial robotaxi service, the day after the accident.

However, the investigation report omitted vital information that the Cruise robotaxi stepped on the pedestrian and dragged her for about 7 meters (23 feet) at a speed of 11 km/h (6.8 mph). It was a highly controversial issue as the accident victim suffered more significant injuries and eventually died. Finally, the CPUC and DMV revoked Cruz’s license to operate robotaxi.

Fox Business

Many previous accidents
GM declares investment of more than $800 million

In the past, the Cruise robotaxi had an accident where it struck a pedestrian crossing a crosswalk. It also showed malfunctions, such as turning toward pedestrians crossing the street and accelerating rapidly while driving usually. Furthermore, there was controversy as it collided with a fire truck and failed to give way to an ambulance on the way. It was reported that although the Ro Taxi was equipped with technology to detect emergency lights and siren sounds, it did not make the correct movements.

However, parent company General Motors recently attracted attention by announcing that it would invest approximately $849,986,000 in Cruise. GM, facing a decline in demand for electric vehicles over the past few months, lowered its electric vehicle production forecast and decided to invest in robotaxi. The direction of overcoming the lack of technological capabilities through investment is positive, but it is expected that it will be challenging to avoid adverse reactions due to past actions.

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