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Cruise suspends driverless operations nationwide, including in Austin

The autonomous vehicle company is stepping back to “rebuild public trust” after an accident involving a pedestrian in San Francisco.

A view of a red and white Cruise car from above.

The company will still be able to operate driverless rides with human supervision.

Photo courtesy of Cruise

Autonomous vehicle company Cruise is stepping away from the driver’s seat for a minute and “proactively” pausing all driverless operations, including those in Austin.

Cruise announced the decision via social media on Thursday, Oct. 26, saying it would “take steps to rebuild public trust” and have “a hard look inwards,” after one of its cars was involved in a high-profile accident that injured a pedestrian in San Francisco. The accident resulted in a federal investigation into the company.

Service in California was paused two days earlier when the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s testing and deployment permits, saying the cars created an “unreasonable risk to public safety.”

Cruise, which is a subsidiary of General Motors, has been operating about 50 autonomous cars in Austin, recently launched a new fleet in Houston, and also operates out of Phoenix.

A driverless Cruise car takes a trip through Downtown Austin.

ATXtoday City Editors spotted a Cruise car driving entirely autonomously Downtown on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Photo by ATXtoday

Cruise is not the only company working on autonomous rides in Austin: Lyft, Waymo, and Volkswagen are all working on similar models.

In Austin, at least 43 complaints concerning the vehicles have been filed with the city. About half of those complaints come from residents, and the other half from city departments and first responders. Some clips shared on social media show the vehicles creeping into other lanes and congregating in the street in Austin.

According to the statement, the nationwide hiatus was not related to any new “on-road incidents,” but it’s important to note that Cruise can still operate vehicles with a human safety driver supervising.

“We think it’s the right thing to do during a period when we need to be extra vigilant when it comes to risk,” the company said in its statement.