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Red light for robotaxis as California suspends Cruise’s license to self-drive

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has rescinded GM-owned Cruise’s right to roam the streets, citing public safety and accusing the biz of withholding information.

“Public safety remains the California DMV’s top priority, and the department’s autonomous vehicle regulations provide a framework to facilitate the safe testing and deployment of this technology on California public roads,” the DMV said in a statement.

“When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits. There is no set time for a suspension.”

The agency said the vehicles are “not safe for the public’s operation,” although just last month the agency gave the green light for their use on the streets of San Francisco. It also accused Cruise of misrepresenting the capabilities and safety data of their cars to regulators.

There is one spot of good news for Cruise; cars with a safety driver behind the wheel can still operate. However, that rather defeats the whole point of the project – getting rid of the driver – although useful training data can be gathered while roaming the streets of California cities.

The DMV says it has given Cruise a series of steps it must complete “to the department’s satisfaction” before the license to operate is renewed.

The agency allowed the use of the robotaxis in June last year but started to get cold feet about Cruise after a rash of incidents involving the computer-controlled cabs, cutting the size of its fleet this August. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also launched an investigation after two such accidents involving pedestrians in San Francisco.

The Register has asked Cruise (and Waymo, who also operate two self-driving test sites in California) for comment and will update if we hear back. ®

source: The Register