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General Motors startup Cruise recalls self-driving software following June crash

General Motors has announced a recall of 80 self-driving vehicles under its startup, Cruise LLC. The company said the recalled vehicles underwent a software update related to a crash in San Francisco this past June that resulted in two people being injured.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the recalled software could “in certain circumstances when making an unprotected left, cause the (autonomous driving system) to incorrectly predict another vehicle’s path or be insufficiently reactive to the sudden path change of a road user.” The NHTSA said it had opened a special investigation into the crash last month.

Cruise stated that after the crash on June 3, the company temporarily prevented its self-driving vehicles from making unprotected left turns and reduced their operating area. After the software updates, Cruise gradually reintroduced unprotected left turns. The company said all vehicles had software updates, and the recall “does not impact or change our current on-road operations.” The statement added, “Cruise AVs are even better equipped to prevent this singular, exceptional event.”

An unprotected left turn refers to turning left on a solid green light instead of a designated green arrow just for turning vehicles. Cruise found that in rare circumstances, the software caused the car to hard brake while performing an unprotected left turn it deemed necessary to avoid a collision.

According to Cruise, the vehicle “had to decide between two different risk scenarios and chose the one with the least potential for a serious collision at the time, before the oncoming vehicle’s sudden change of direction.” A police report from the accident found that the other party was mostly at fault and was driving 40 miles per hour in a 25-mile zone.

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