What is a robotaxi? California DMV suspends permit for Cruise LLC's driverless vehicles

DMV has banned Cruise
DMV has banned Cruise's driverless taxis (Image via Cruise)

California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced on Tuesday, October 24, that it has suspended Cruise's permits for driverless cars or robotaxis. The state ordered the company to remove the vehicles from state roads with immediate effect, because of "an unreasonable risk to public safety." Moreover, they also claimed that the company "misrepresented" the safety of the technology.

Furthermore, the NY Post reported that Cruise's attempts to test the vehicles without drivers have also been temporarily discontinued, according to a statement from California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

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As per Reuters, the DMV issued a statement regarding the suspension and said:

“The department shall immediately suspend or revoke the Manufacturer's Testing Permit or a Manufacturer's Testing Permit - Driverless Vehicles if a manufacturer is engaging in a practice in such a manner that immediate suspension is required for the safety of persons on a public road”.

A robotaxi is a self-driving vehicle that doubles as a taxi. Passengers can request these vehicles via a smartphone application.


Robotaxis are driverless independent taxis

DMV stated that driverless cabs might not be entirely safe (Image via Cruise)
DMV stated that driverless cabs might not be entirely safe (Image via Cruise)

As per a blog called Get My Parking, Robotaxis are cabs that help to reduce pollution and energy consumption. The majority of these cars are electric, and they can effectively replace privately owned vehicles that run on fossil fuels. Moreover, they also have the potential to significantly improve traffic flow and road safety in major urban areas.

Additionally, by removing the need for drivers, they can reduce operational expenses. While this can be a more environmentally friendly transportation option, it is important to note that it poses a challenge to the drivers employed by the cab company on contract.

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As per the same blog, the issue with robotaxis, though, is that they are still far from being fully autonomous and capable of traveling anywhere the passengers want to go. Additionally, to make sure they stay on course or safely navigate traffic, they require human input. There is also no assurance that things will run smoothly even in that scenario as the system isn't perfect yet.


California suspended Cruise's permits for driverless vehicles due to safety concerns

According to CBS News, the DMV informed the General Motors subsidiary located in California that its permits for driverless testing and autonomous car deployment have been suspended.

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CBS News reported that the DMV's official announcement stated:

"Based upon the performance of the vehicles, the department determines the manufacturer's vehicles are not safe for the public's operation.”

It continued:

“The manufacturer has misrepresented any information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles.”

According to the DMV, it has given Cruise the instructions they need to apply for the suspension of the permit to be lifted. As per the agency, the permit will be reinstated only if the company fulfills a set of requirements to the department's satisfaction.

As per Reuters, this suspension is a significant blow to the autonomous vehicle market as well as the company's self-driving car division.

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Edited by Adelle Fernandes