Oct 30, 2023 - News

Cruise suspends its self-driving car tests in Houston

A visual of a car with a boot on it.

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Cruise has pumped the brakes on a nationwide experiment in autonomous vehicles and has suspended its self-driving cars in Houston.

Catch up quick: Officials with the company, a California-based subsidiary of General Motors, announced late last week they are pausing driverless operations.

  • "The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust," company officials posted on X.

Context: The move came after the California Department of Motor Vehicles on Tuesday suspended Cruise's driverless testing permits in San Francisco due to an "unreasonable risk to public safety."

Zoom in: Cruise reported three collisions involving its driverless vehicles to Houston officials, per Jesse Bounds, head of the mayor's office of innovation.

  • Bounds said Cruise wasn't at fault in any of the three incidents. Details of the crashes were not immediately available.
  • Cruise vehicles also blocked traffic in Montrose when a traffic light malfunctioned in September, forcing drivers to divert around the stopped cars.

What they're saying: Despite the headwinds, GM CEO Mary Barra insists the company is staying the course.

  • In a statement to Axios, a spokesman added: "Reimagining our business for the next chapter of transportation isn't easy, but our commitment to an all-EV and autonomous vehicle future is stronger than ever, and our operating discipline will help us break through and win."

The big picture: GM's biggest bets on the future — electric vehicles, autonomy and subscription software — are all running into trouble, and now the likelihood of sharply higher labor costs is raising the stakes even higher, Axios' Joann Muller writes.

Go deeper: GM's big bets run low on juice.

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