Former NHTSA head blasts Cruise’s ‘People are horrible drivers’ advert


A former administrator of the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) has responded to a full-page advert taken out in a number of main newspapers by Cruise, Normal Motors’ self-driving subsidiary, that calls people horrible drivers.

The advert factors to the practically 43,000 crash fatalities in 2022 and promotes autonomous automobiles as the answer.

“Utilizing the ache and struggling of these deaths for self-promotion of an unproven and unsafe product is unscrupulous,” mentioned Joan Claybrook, a lawyer who served as head of NHTSA from 1977 to 1981, and as president of shopper advocacy group Public Citizen from 1982 to 2009.

Claybrook known as the advert a ploy from GM to recoup a few of its funding within the billions of {dollars} spent to develop Cruise’s self-driving automobiles. In keeping with GM’s 2022 earnings report, the automaker misplaced $1.9 billion on Cruise in 2022, up from $1.2 billion in 2021. GM has mentioned it expects Cruise to herald $50 billion yearly in income by 2030.

Cruise revealed the advert final week within the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Occasions, the Los Angeles Occasions and The Sacramento Bee. The message from Cruise got here because the California Public Utilities Fee delayed, for the second time, a listening to on increasing Cruise’s and competitor Waymo’s permits to cost for robotaxi rides all through town 24/7, amid mounting stress from opposition.

“You is likely to be a very good driver, however many people aren’t,” reads the advert. “Individuals trigger thousands and thousands of accidents yearly within the US. Cruise driverless vehicles are designed to avoid wasting lives.”

Within the advert, Cruise factors to its “1 Million Mile Security Report,” developed with the College of Michigan Transportation Analysis Institute and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to check naturalistic human ride-hail driving to Cruise’s autonomous driver. The research discovered that Cruise automobiles, which have collected over 1 million miles of driving, resulted in 53% fewer collisions, 92% fewer collisions as the first contributor and 73% fewer collisions with significant danger of damage when benchmarked towards human drivers in a comparable driving setting.

“A million miles travelled by autonomous automobiles (AVs) at first look could look like a considerable quantity however is lower than 0.00003 % of the greater than three trillion miles pushed yearly on U.S. roads,” mentioned Claybrook in an announcement launched by Advocates for Freeway and Auto Security. “Moreover, it’s infinitesimal in comparison with the 310 billion miles pushed in California annually. By comparability, in a single work week, human ride-hailing drivers in San Francisco had been practically tripling the a million miles Cruise took a 12 months to build up.”

Claybrook known as Cruise’s security report restricted and its course of opaque, noting that Cruise has not launched the comparative research from the colleges it partnered with within the report. A spokesperson for Cruise advised TechCrunch the corporate can’t share the research with out the permission of College of Michigan and Virginia Tech.

Whereas Cruise’s AVs haven’t been in any deadly accidents whereas driving in San Francisco, the corporate has come underneath fireplace for malfunctioning automobiles stopping in the course of visitors, blocking different automobiles, emergency automobiles and public transit. A mixture of aggravated residents, San Francisco’s fireplace chief, the law enforcement officials’ affiliation and the SFMTA have all expressed considerations concerning the security and efficacy of AVs after many such incidents.

In response to Cruise automobiles changing into immobilized whereas working on public roads and incidents when the robotaxis could have engaged in inappropriately exhausting braking, NHTSA final December opened a preliminary investigation into the automobiles. The company didn’t reply in time to TechCrunch to offer an replace.



Latest articles

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here