General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit Cruise has offered to pay $75,000 and enhance its reporting of collisions and incidents involving autonomous vehicles (AVs) in order to settle a dispute with California regulators over its response to a pedestrian crash in October.
The incident in question occurred on October 2 when a pedestrian, hit by another vehicle, was thrown into the path of a self-driving Cruise vehicle, which subsequently dragged the individual for 20 feet as it attempted to pull over. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) accused Cruise of misleading the commission through omission by not disclosing the full extent and seriousness of the accident.
In response to the CPUC’s order for a hearing schedule for February 6, Cruise has proposed a settlement that includes a $75,000 payment and a pledge to adopt new data reporting enhancements, such as providing timely collision reports and responses to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) permit reinstatement questions.
Cruise has retained law firm Quinn Emanuel to investigate the company’s response to the October incident, scrutinizing interactions with regulators, law enforcement, and the media. The company has also pledged to make the findings of this investigation public before the scheduled evidentiary hearing.
“Cruise is committed to rebuilding trust with our regulators, increased transparency and cooperation with the CPUC, and providing the data and information the Commission needs to ensure that AV service is safe, equitable and accessible,”a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement to The Standard
Following the October crash, Cruise saw its testing permit suspended by the California DMV, leading to a halt in all U.S. testing operations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated a federal investigation into pedestrian risks associated with Cruise’s autonomous vehicles.
In response, Cruise has terminated nine executives, including the COO and chief legal and policy officer, and implemented a 24% reduction in its workforce.
Cruise’s CEO, Kyle Vogt, and co-founder, Dan Kan, resigned in the weeks leading up to December’s layoffs. General Motors, the parent company of Cruise, announced plans to cut costs at Cruise, which had incurred losses exceeding $700 million in the third quarter and over $8 billion since 2016.