Welcome to readin – the best world tech news chanel.

Cruise says hostility toward regulators led to discontinuation of its self-driving vehicles| GuyWhoKnowsThings


General Motors' self-driving car subsidiary Cruise said in a report Thursday that a contradictory approach taken by its top executives toward regulators had led to a cascade of events that ended with a nationwide suspension of Cruise's fleet. and investigations by federal and California authorities. , including the Department of Justice.

The roughly 100-page report was compiled by a law firm that Cruise and GM hired to investigate whether Cruise executives had misled California regulators about an October crash in San Francisco in which one of their vehicles swept away. a woman 20 feet. The review found that while the executives had not intentionally misled state officials, they had failed to explain key details about the incident.

In meetings with regulators, executives let a video of the crash “speak for itself” rather than fully explaining how one of their vehicles, part of Cruise's self-driving taxi service in the city, seriously injured the pedestrian. Executives subsequently focused on protecting Cruise's reputation rather than giving a full account of the incident to the public and media, according to the report, written by law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Cruise also said the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as state agencies and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, were investigating how they had handled the incident.

The report is critical to Cruise's efforts to regain the public's trust and ultimately restart its business. Cruise has been largely closed since October, when the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended his license operate because their vehicles were unsafe and the company misrepresented the incident. responded by Take your self-driving cars off the roads across the country., lay off a quarter of your staff and replace Kyle Vogt, its co-founder and CEO, who resigned in November, with new leaders.

Cruise did not name Mr. Vogt in a blog post summarizing the law firm's review, but he was named throughout the report. Vogt declined to comment.

The summary of the report was a long list of reasons to explain why regulators accused Cruise of misleading them. The law firm discovered that an engineer who had provided video of the accident to regulators had a poor Internet connection that prevented regulators from seeing a full, clear version. Some senior Cruise leaders also did not know the details of the incident before a meeting with state officials.

Last month, Cruise fired nine employees, including most of those who had met with the DMV. Subsequently, his vice president of communications departed. The company eliminated about 900 of 3,800 positions, mostly corporate and business roles that were less important after it suspended operations.

Cruise hopes the investigation will help repair his reputation and clear the way for him to restart his autonomous vehicle business. He believes his problem was the result of a leadership team that made the rapid development of a business a priority over the safety of its operations.

Cruise will provide the report to the DMV and the California Public Utilities Commission, which authorizes driverless vehicle programs in the state. He said he would also make it available to the public.

The report will be closely examined by all those interested in the future of driverless vehicles. Cruise's problems have stoked concern among technology and auto companies that have invested billions in developing the technology. It also amplified safety concerns from regulators and people who have been concerned about the risks created when robots hit the road.

In Cruise's absence, Waymo, founded by Google, has become the only autonomous vehicle operation offering taxi rides in San Francisco. Although Waymo's fleet of about 250 cars has had few major incidents, the city of San Francisco sued the state of California last month for allowing Waymo and Cruise vehicles to operate without stricter regulations.

“We know that our license to operate must be earned and is ultimately granted by regulators and the communities we serve,” Cruise said in his blog post. “We are focused on advancing our technology and regaining the public's trust.”

Cruise is the latest technology company to turn to a law firm to overhaul its business. Uber hired former Attorney General Eric H. Holder to examine issues of sexual harassment and misconduct under co-founder Travis Kalanick.

The way Cruise responded to the Oct. 2 crash stoked regulators' concerns about the crash itself. Another car hit the woman at a San Francisco intersection and threw her into the path of one of Cruise's vehicles. The Cruise car stopped and then moved forward 20 feet, dragging the woman as she approached the sidewalk.

The report said that although Cruise's leadership team and staff did not attempt to mislead or mislead regulators during key meetings with a variety of government officials the day after the incident, they did not explain that a technical problem had caused the car to drag the pedestrian. after she was beaten.

Instead of sharing with the DMV a full video of the crash taken by the Cruise vehicle, state officials said, Cruise shared an abbreviated version that ended with the car stopping. He omitted images of the car dragging the woman. The DMV said it learned about the entire video through another agency.

The report described Cruise as a disorganized company, mired in disagreements and confusion about what had happened and how to handle it. Although engineers and dozens of people within the company knew that the woman had been swept away by her car, key senior executives, including the chief legal officer, said they did not know before meeting with the DMV.

During Quinn Emanuel's review, employees who had met with the DMV disagreed about whether the company had shown the entire video to regulators. The biggest problem was that Cruise didn't tell regulators what had happened, the law firm said.

“We were lucky they didn't notice the drag,” one employee later said a DMV meeting participant had said.

The report said Cruise had shared the video with some regulators, but that when an employee showed the video during meetings on Oct. 3, “transmission issues” prevented or prevented regulators from seeing that the car had dragged the pedestrian.

“They could have survived if they had been honest, but they took a different approach and ended up destroying their reputation,” said Matthew Wansley, a professor at Cardozo Law School in New York who specializes in emerging automotive technologies. “To recover, they had to perform a completely transparent autopsy of what happened.”

GM, which bought Cruise in 2016 for $1 billion, stepped in to run the company. He installed his general counsel, Craig Glidden, as Cruise's president and made him responsible for overseeing the investigation and helping evaluate how the business should proceed. Glidden is trying to change the company's culture to put more emphasis on security and transparency with regulators and the public.


Share this article:
you may also like
Next magazine you need
most popular

what you need to know

in your inbox every morning