San Francisco autonomous vehicle company Cruise recalled and updated the software of its fleet of 300 cars, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, ” after a Cruise taxi rear-ended a local bus “when the car’s software got confused by the articulated vehicle, according to a federal safety report and the company.”
The voluntary report notes that Cruise updated its software on March 25th.
Since last month’s low-speed crash, which resulted in no injuries, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said the company chose to conduct a voluntary recall, and the software update assured such a rare incident “would not recur….” As for the March bus collision, Vogt said the software fix was uploaded to Cruise’s entire fleet of 300 cars within two days. He said the company’s probe found the crash scenario “exceptionally rare” with no other similar collisions.
“Although we determined that the issue was rare, we felt the performance of this version of software in this situation was not good enough,” Vogt wrote in a blog post. “We took the proactive step of notifying NHTSA that we would be filing a voluntary recall of previous versions of our software that were impacted by the issue.” The CEO said such voluntary recalls will probably become “commonplace.”
“We believe this is one of the great benefits of autonomous vehicles compared to human drivers; our entire fleet of AVs is able to rapidly improve, and we are able to carefully monitor that progress over time,” he said.
The Cruise car was traveling about 10 miles per hour, and the collision caused only minor damage to its front fender, Vogt’s blog post explained. San Francisco’s buses have front and back coaches connected by articulated rubber, and when the Cruise taxi lost sight of the front half, it made the assumption that it was still moving (rather than recognizing that the back coach had stopped). Or, as Cruise told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, their vehicle “”inaccurately predicted the movement” of the bus.
It was not the first San Francisco incident involving Cruise since June, when it became the first company in a major city to win the right to taxi passengers in driverless vehicles — in this case Chevrolet Bolts. The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency and County Transportation Authority recorded at least 92 incidents from May to December 2022 in which autonomous ride-hailing vehicles caused problems on city streets, disrupting traffic, Muni transit and emergency responders, according to letters sent to the California Public Utilities Commission….
Just two days before the Cruise crash in March, the company had more problems with Muni during one of San Francisco’s intense spring storms. A falling tree brought down a Muni line near Clay and Jones streets on March 21, and a witness reported on social media that two Cruise cars drove through caution tape into the downed wire. A company representative said neither car had passengers and teams were immediately dispatched to remove the vehicles.
On Jan. 22, a driverless Cruise car entered an active firefighting scene and nearly ran over hoses. Fire crews broke a car window to try to stop it.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.