Cruise Kept Driverless Cars on the Road Despite Issues Detecting Children: Report

Heather Somerville/Reuters
Heather Somerville/Reuters

General Motors’ self-driving car division Cruise was aware of problems its autonomous vehicles had in detecting children and the frequency with which human drivers were forced to take control of the vehicles—but nevertheless chose to keep the self-driving cars on the street, according to internal reports obtained by The Intercept. During one test drive, the AV’s artificial intelligence software recognized a child-sized dummy but still ran into it with a mirror at 28 miles per hour, The Intercept reported. In a statement to the news outlet, Cruise acknowledged issues in tracking children by the side of the road during simulations but said the issues were resolved during testing, though the statement didn’t say what steps were taken to fix the problem. A spokesperson later said, “The risk of the potential collision with a child could occur once every 300 million miles at fleet driving, which we have since improved upon. There have been no on-road collisions with children.” General Motors temporarily suspended Cruise’s production of its robotaxi van on Monday, and the company’s driverless operations were suspended in California this month over allegations it withheld footage of a pedestrian being hit.

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