According to public records and internal emails, the government has no idea about the number of civilians who were hit by Cruise’s driverless vehicles. The government recently halted the use of these vehicles due to multiple incidents where pedestrians were hit. It was also discovered that Cruise deployed these cars despite the fact that they had difficulty recognizing children.
Before the complete recall of Cruise’s fleet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had already started investigating the carmaker due to an incident where one of their cars dragged a pedestrian in San Francisco. Following this incident, California ordered Cruise to cease operations in the state, and the NHTSA investigation began soon after.
The report does not clearly state what the NHTSA has discovered. In their public records, the federal agency acknowledges that they do not know the exact number of pedestrian incidents. This is unusual considering their responsibility for overseeing autonomous vehicles.
Emails obtained reveal that San Francisco city officials acknowledge the flawed online system for reporting roadway incidents, making it difficult for civilians to report dangerous encounters with self-driving cars through official channels.
The issue is that in order to fill out a form, you need to provide the VIN number, which is a unique code found inside a vehicle and acts as its fingerprint. However, the public does not have access to this information when it comes to autonomous vehicles that are used for hire. This oversight should have been addressed before allowing driver-free cars on public roads.
Reference- The Verge, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency,404 Media, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website