- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2022

California regulators said Tuesday they are examining multiple incidents of stalled Cruise driverless vehicles blocking traffic in San Francisco last week.

The California Public Utilities Commission said it’s looking to see if autonomous vehicles by Cruise LLC, based in San Francisco, caused any violations during Thursday’s incidents. The company is a somewhat autonomous subsidiary of General Motors Co., which has an 80% stake, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“We are working with the companies to understand their frequency, location, and the conditions under which they occur. In general, if an AV company violates their permit conditions, the CPUC has the authority to suspend or revoke their operating authority,” a CPUC spokesperson told news site SFGATE.

In one incident from Thursday evening captured on Reddit by user MoneyManMarc, three Cruise vehicles can be seen stalled on the road, with a city bus stopped at the intersection behind them.

Dan Thorn, a reporter with local TV station KRON-TV, posted on Twitter another incident where he himself, along with a passenger, was stuck behind another stalled Cruise vehicle.

A third incident saw a Cruise autonomous vehicle veer into an occupied bus lane, mere inches away from hitting a San Francisco city bus, according to KRON-TV.

Cruise told The Washington Times that the autonomous vehicle stopped when the bus “pulled to its right in very close proximity.” 

Furthermore, Cruise emphasized that there was no collision or contact between the bus and the Cruise vehicle, which had no passengers.

“Safety is the guiding principle of everything we do. That means if our cars encounter a situation where they aren’t able to safely proceed they turn on their hazard lights and we either get them operating again or pick them up as quickly as possible. This could be because of a mechanical issue like a flat tire, a road condition, or a technical problem. We’re working to minimize how often this happens, and apologize to anyone impacted,” Cruise spokesperson Drew Pusateri explained.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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