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GM issues recall for hundreds of vehicles after self-driving car collides with bus

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Three hundred automated driving vehicles were recalled following a collision involving a city bus that occurred in San Francisco last month.

The recall involves vehicles that are part of GM’s self-driving taxi fleet called “Cruise.”

The recall was issued in the wake of a March 23 collision that occurred in San Francisco when a self-driving Cruise vehicle rear ended a city bus.

According to Forbes, shortly after the accident, Cruise confirmed that the vehicle was operating in autonomous mode without a safety driver inside.

No injuries were reported following the collision.

Cruise founder Kyle Vogt shared a blog post on the recall and the crash:

“One of our Cruise AVs was recently involved in a minor collision after a city bus slowed and the AV was late to brake behind it. It resulted in minor damage to the front fender of the AV and caused no injuries.  

Fender benders like this rarely happen to our AVs, but this incident was unique. We do not expect our vehicles to run into the back of a city bus under any conditions, so even a single incident like this was worthy of immediate and careful study.”

The recall was issued on April 3. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) documents, Cruise says that the company’s automated driving systems could, on rare occasions, incorrectly predict the movement of articulated vehicles.

From NHTSA documents:

“In rare circumstances, the Cruise ADS operating with the Subject ADS software could inaccurately predict the movement of “articulated” vehicle. This issue could occur when (a) the ADS perceived both the front section and rear section of an articulated vehicle initially; (b) the articulated vehicle then maneuvered in such a manner that the rear section of the vehicle fully obstructed the front section of the vehicle; and (c) the articulated vehicle then decelerated close to the AV within a few seconds of the front section becoming obstructed. In such a circumstance, the ADS could inaccurately determine that the obstructed front section of the vehicle was continuing to move forward, and that the rear section of the vehicle would continue to move forward with the front section, even if the vehicle was decelerating.”

Following the March 23 crash, Cruise launched an investigation and determined that the crash was caused by a software release issued on January 12, 2023. The company says that a new software update was issued on March 25 that is expected to correct the problem.

Even with the new software fix, Vogt says that the voluntary recall was issued out of an abundance of caution.

“Although we determined that the issue was rare, we felt the performance of this version of software in this situation was not good enough. We took the proactive step of notifying NHTSA that we would be filing a voluntary recall of previous versions of our software that were impacted by the issue” Vogt said.

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