GM’s Cruise is being investigated by the DoJ and SEC following a pedestrian accident

GM’s driverless Cruise division is under investigation by both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The Washington Post has reported. The probes follow an incident last year in which a jaywalking pedestrian was struck by a Cruise autonomous vehicle and then dragged 20 feet, worsening her injuries.
At the same time, yesterday Cruise released its own third-party findings regarding the accident, which took place on October 2 and involved another vehicle (a Nissan). The company said it “failed to live up to the justifiable expectations of regulators and the communities we serve… [and] also fell woefully short of our own expectations,” adding that it’s “fully cooperating” with investigators. According to its own findings, that’s an understatement to say the least. 
According to the report, Cruise withheld crucial information from officials during a briefing the day after the accident. Specifically, the company failed to mention that its autonomous vehicle (AV) had dragged the victim 20 feet at around 7 MPH, causing serious injuries. According to the internal report, that occurred because the vehicle mistakenly detected a side (rather than a frontal) collision and attempted to pull over rather than stopping. 
At least 100 Cruise employees, including members of senior leadership, legal and others, were aware of the dragging incident — but failed to disclose it during October 3 meetings with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, NHTSA, DMV and other officials, the report states.
The company said it intended to let a video of the dragging incident speak for itself, then answer questions about it. However, the video didn’t play clearly and fully due to internet connection issues, and then Cruise employees failed to verbally affirm the pullover maneuver and dragging of the pedestrian. In case that’s not bad enough, the third-party findings state:
Cruise leadership was fixated on correcting the inaccurate media narrative that the Cruise AV, not the Nissan, had caused the Accident. This myopic focus led Cruise to convey the information about the Nissan hit-and-run driver having caused the Accident to the media, regulators and other government officials, but to omit other important information about the Accident. Even after obtaining the Full Video, Cruise did not correct the public narrative but continued instead to share incomplete facts and video about the Accident with the media and the public.
The report says the failings came about due to “poor leadership, mistakes in judgment, lack of coordination, an ‘us versus them’ mentality with regulators, and a fundamental misapprehension of Cruise’s obligations of accountability and transparency to the government and the public.” 
Prior to the crash, Cruise was facing other problems with its autonomous vehicles (AVs) failing to recognize children and the frequency with which human operators took control. According to former CEO Vogt, human drivers needed to intervene in trips every four to five miles. 
Cruise had its license to operate suspended in California back in October. The company also laid off 24 percent of its workforce late last year, following the resignation of co-founder Daniel Kan and the departure of its CEO Kyle Vogt. On top of the two federal investigations, the company is also facing a lawsuit from the city of San Francisco. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/gms-cruise-is-being-investigated-by-the-doj-and-sec-following-a-pedestrian-accident-104030508.html?src=rss

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