SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Cruise, the self-driving robotaxi service in San Francisco, has recalled the software on their autonomous cars. The CEO says it’s because of an accident that happened back in March.
KRON4 spoke with tech experts about what this recall means and the future of driverless cars.
The experts say the recall is actually a good thing. It shows Cruise is working to improve its product.
But what prompted the recall is troubling.
After this driverless cruise car rear-ended a Muni bus in March, Cruise founder and CEO Kyle Vogt says they filed a voluntary recall with the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.
The company then upgraded the software on 300 of its cars.
“The Muni bus has an unusual shape because it is two sections, so the movement was not something it had in its scenarios,” San Jose State University professor and tech expert Ahmed Banafa.
The cars use a combination of cameras and radar to operate without a driver.
Banafa says the companies are still training the software on how to react to different scenarios.
“The problem that I see is that the training is happening on real streets,” Banafa said.
As opposed to training the cars in a controlled environment like a closed track.
Principal Analyst for Guidehouse Insights Sam Abuelsamid says there should be more regulations around the technology.
“This is another indicator of what I long advocated for which is that we shouldn’t be allowing companies developing the software to essentially self-regulate and decide when these vehicles are safe enough to put on the road,” Abuelsamid said.
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He says there should be federal motor vehicle safety standards and testing.
Just like human drivers take a test.
Cruise is working to get approval for around-the-clock driverless taxis in San Francisco. Currently, the cars are only operating on off-peak hours.
“These automated vehicles are operating in much more constrained environments then what humans drive in and if you look at the number of crashes per mile, they’re really not any better and in fact not as good as human drivers yet at this stage,” Abuelsamid said.
No one was injured in the crash that prompted the recall. Cruise says their testing shows this specific issue will not happen again.