AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nearly two weeks after Cruise announced it was pausing all its driverless vehicle operations, the company announced Wednesday it was voluntarily issuing a recall for a portion of its autonomous vehicle software.
Officials wrote that the recall followed “a new analysis of our AV’s post-collision response on October 2.” That refers to an Oct. 2 crash where a pedestrian was hit by a driver in San Francisco and thrown into the path of a Cruise car nearby, according to reporting from The Verge.
The Cruise vehicle attempted to pull to the side of the road despite the fact its collision detection system was supposed to alert the car to remain stationary instead. As a result, the vehicle dragged the pedestrian approximately 20 feet and seriously injured them.
“The recall addresses circumstances in which the Cruise collision detection subsystem may cause the Cruise AV to attempt to pull over out of traffic instead of remaining stationary when a pullover is not the desired post-collision response,” the company notice read in part, adding: “We have also developed a software update that remedies the issue described and have deployed it to our supervised test fleet, which remains in operation. We’ll deploy the remedy to our driverless fleet prior to resuming those operations.”
In addition to the voluntary recall, Cruise added it was creating a chief safety officer role to report to the CEO and help oversee safety reviews and investigations. Subsequently, Cruise’s board retained the services of the law firm Quinn Emanuel “to examine and better understand Cruise’s response to the October 2 incident, including Cruise’s interactions with law enforcement, regulators, and the media.”
“This outside review will help us learn from this incident, strengthen our protocols, and improve our response to these types of incidents in the future,” the release said.
Related to the pause of its driverless vehicle operations, officials confirmed to KXAN they did lay off some contingent workers.
“Cruise has made the difficult decision to reduce a portion of the contingent workforce that supported driverless ridehail operations,” a company spokesperson said via email. “These contingent workers were responsible for work such as cleaning, charging and maintaining the fleet, and we’re grateful for their contributions.”
Those laid off employees had been contracted through vendors and third-party staffing agencies and weren’t directly employed by Cruise.
More details about the company’s safety responses are available online.