The California Department of Motor Vehicles has officially yanked Cruise's robotaxi permit "effective immediately," following a hit-and-run incident in San Francisco earlier this month that caused a pedestrian to become trapped underneath a driverless Cruise vehicle.
In a brief statement, the agency cited several alleged reasons for the suspension, including that Cruise's "vehicles are not safe for the public’s operation," and that it misrepresented "information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles."
According to the DMV's Order of Suspension obtained by Vice, Cruise withheld critical video footage from an ongoing investigation into the hit-and-run, which if true would paint the General Motors-owned company in a terrible light.
The suspension means Cruise will no longer be allowed to run its robotaxi service in the state without a human safety driver on board.
Cruise will now have to carry out several steps outlined by the DMV to "reinstate its suspended permits."
On a broader scale, it's a notable step back for the driverless taxi industry, highlighting that there are real dangers with having autonomous vehicles roam city streets with no human driver on board.
The news comes days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it had opened an investigation into Cruise in light of several reports of robotaxis being involved in collisions or near misses.
Concerns over the safety of Cruise's vehicles grew to a fever pitch earlier this month, when a pedestrian was struck by a human driver and somehow became trapped under a Cruise robotaxi for a prolonged period of time.
The vehicle attempted to complete a "pullover maneuver while the pedestrian was underneath the vehicle," a damning piece of evidence the DMV only learned about later from "another government agency," per the Order of Suspension.
Cruise did, however, provide the footage of the pedestrian being dragged underneath the vehicle after the DMV asked for it, per Vice.
Cruise spokesperson Hannah Lindow also confirmed to The Verge that the DMV's suspension was related to the incident.
"Our thoughts continue to be with the victim as we hope for a rapid and complete recovery," she told the publication.
Alphabet's Waymo will still be able to run its paid driverless robotaxi service in San Francisco.
"This is a line item veto, not a blanket AV policy," Reilly Brennan, general partner at transportation venture capital firm Trucks VC, told The Verge.
"Without access to their code laid bare, we might not be able to contrast the technical merits of Cruise and Waymo on our own," Brennan added. "But California has now drawn the distinction for us."
Outside of terrifying run-ins with pedestrians, Cruise has also come under fire for causing chaos on city streets.
Earlier this year, California's Public Utilities Commission approved Cruise's application to run its driverless robotaxi service around the clock in San Francisco.
Less than 24 hours later, around ten vehicles unexpectedly shut down, causing a major traffic jam in the city.
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