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Software in 80 Cruise autonomous vehicles recalled, updated after collision in June

·2 min read

Software in 80 of Cruise's autonomous vehicles (AV) was recalled and updated following a collision involving one of its cars in June, according to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) filings.

The recall notice "pertains to a prior version of the software and does not impact or change our current on-road operations," a Cruise spokesperson told FOX Business Friday.

"Rather, the report explains how the Cruise AV responded to an oncoming vehicle speeding in the wrong lane, and how through our normal course of continuous improvements, Cruise AVs are even better equipped to prevent this singular, exceptional event."

According to the filings, the crash involving the self-driving Cruise vehicle and another car happened June 3 in San Francisco.

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While the Cruise AV made an unprotected left turn, the "reflexive planner" safety feature in the old version of the autonomous driving system made the vehicle do a hard brake to avoid a predicted front-end collision with an oncoming vehicle "traveling well above the speed limit in a restricted right-turn/bus-only lane," the filings said.

The oncoming car collided with the "rear right quarter panel" of the Cruise AV after the oncoming car "suddenly" exited the right-turn lane and went through the intersection, according to the filings. During the incident, the autonomous driving system had to "decide between two risk scenarios and chose the one with the least potential for a serious collision at the time," Cruise determined, the filings said.

According to the filings, Cruise temporarily disabled unprotected left turns from its fleet of self-driving cars out of an abundance of caution following the crash. Cruise said a police report said the other vehicle was the "party at most fault." The General Motors majority-owned startup issued a software update fix in early July and gradually reintroduced unprotected left turns after that.

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The old recalled software might not have "correctly predicted nor been sufficiently reactive to the sudden path change" of a road user in such "rare circumstances," the filings said. In over 123,000 unprotected left turns by Cruise AVs before the software update, only one such incident took place, Cruise said in the filings. The scenario would "not recur" following the update to the software, Cruise said, according to the filings.

The Cruise spokesperson told FOX Business the company "submitted this voluntary filing in the interest of transparency to the public." The NHTSA suggested filing the recall notice was an appropriate mechanism for informing the public of the software update, Cruise said in the filings.

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In June 2021, the NHTSA issued a standing general order that requires self-driving vehicle manufacturers and operators to report all crashes involving AVs to the agency.