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Cruise, owned by GM, will reintroduce vehicles with human drivers in Phoenix.

The relaunch comes after the company ceased operations weeks following an accident in San Francisco. Cruise self-driving vehicle unit is redeploying cars with human drivers in Phoenix to gather road information and create maps. The goal is to resume driverless operations in the future, although no specific timeline has been provided yet. The relaunched fleet with human drivers is seen as a critical step for validating the self-driving systems as the company aims to return to its driverless mission.

In October 2023, Cruise paused operations to focus on rebuilding trust with regulators and communities. The company made significant progress, guided by new leadership and third-party recommendations, acknowledging the need for safety redesign. A probe into the October incident cited culture issues, ineptitude, and poor leadership as contributing to regulatory oversights that led to the accident. Cruise accepted the probe’s conclusions and committed to acting on all recommendations.

Prior to the accident, Cruise had plans for an aggressive expansion of robotaxis beyond its home market. Following the incident, Cruise underwent significant leadership changes, including the resignation of co-founders and the removal of key leaders. The company also reduced its workforce and contractors as part of the restructuring process.

The investigation and inquiries into the accident involved various state and federal agencies, including the California DMV, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cruise, affiliated with General Motors, is fully cooperating with these investigations and commits to continuous improvement efforts in safety and operations.

Cruise’s approach post-accident has been focused on transparency, cooperation with regulators, and rebuilding public trust. The company’s decision to reintroduce vehicles with human drivers in Phoenix marks a significant milestone in the journey towards resuming driverless operations. By prioritizing safety and community partnerships, Cruise aims to regain momentum in the autonomous vehicle industry.

Despite facing challenges and setbacks, Cruise remains optimistic about the future of self-driving technology. The company’s commitment to innovation, safety, and regulatory compliance underscores its determination to overcome obstacles and deliver on its mission of advancing autonomous transportation.

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