California DMV suspends Cruise’s driverless permits

The agency cites several safety-related regulations.

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced Tuesday that it has suspended GM-owned Cruise’s permits to operate driverless vehicles in the state — effective immediately. The suspension was based on several safety-related issues. It isn’t yet clear if the move is directly related to an incident earlier this month when a Cruise robotaxi pinned a pedestrian under its tire in San Francisco after another car’s hit-and-run.

According to an emailed statement the California DMV supplied to Engadget, the suspension was based on safety-related regulations. These include:

  • 13 CCR §228.20 (b) (6) - Based upon the performance of the vehicles, the Department determines the manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation.

  • 13 CCR §228.20 (b) (3) - The manufacturer has misrepresented any information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles.

  • 13 CCR §227.42 (b)(5) - 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.

  • 13 CCR §227.42 (c)- 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.

The CA DMV says it has supplied Cruise with a path back to driverless operation in the state. “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,” the statement reads. The agency added that the suspension doesn’t affect Cruise’s ability to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver.

Cruise and Waymo received approval from California regulators earlier this year to operate and charge fares for fully autonomous cars in San Francisco at any time of the day. But the DMV asked the company in August to rein in its fleet by half, citing an investigation into crashes involving the autonomous vehicles. At the time, Cruise agreed to operate no more than 50 robotaxis in San Francisco during the day and at most 150 of them at night. However, today’s move abruptly stops those agreements, at least temporarily ceasing all safety-driverless autonomous operations in California until further notice.