Cruise Recalls All of Its Autonomous Cars After Bus Crash

Cruise issued a software update within two days of a crash, then initiated a voluntary recall to update all vehicles on the old software.

byChris Rosales|
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An autonomous vehicle by Cruise was involved in a crash with a city bus, triggering a near-immediate software update and recall by the autonomous vehicle software developer. Though the collision caused no injuries, a Cruise vehicle was lightly damaged in a rare but significant incident for an autonomous vehicle, amongst other struggles for Cruise.

In a blog post published by Cruise Founder and CEO Kyle Vogt, the crash is thoroughly analyzed and explained, and Cruise accepted that the incident should have never happened. According to Cruise, it had assembled a team within the company to investigate the incident. The city bus that was involved acted in a “reasonable and predictable” way when pulling out of a bus stop into traffic and when coming to a stop. The issue was the way the AV responded to the conditions.

Cruise

The AV braked in response to the bus pulling out but did so too late. It rear-ended the bus at 10 mph. The apparent cause of the collision was an issue with how the AV interpreted the movement of the articulated bus that was involved in the collision. According to Cruise, the AV made an incorrect prediction about the position of the bus based on the front section of the bus which it could no longer see. Because of this, it couldn’t “see” the rear section of the bus. 

In response to this, Cruise worked on a software update that helped to recognize articulated vehicles. Within two days of the collision, the update was validated and pushed out to the Cruise fleet. Now, Cruise filed its voluntary recall to make sure the previous version of its software is replaced with the updated software. 

Though it was a relatively small collision, it is still significant for learning and developing AVs. A small collision can have big consequences, and vigorous safety standards are crucial for all vehicles. Responding and acting accordingly is part of the battle.

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