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Robotaxi company Cruise offers $75,000 to settle San Francisco crash probe

A Cruise vehicle, which is a driverless, autonomous robotaxi, at a stoplight during the day in San Francisco.
Cruise has offered $75,000 in an effort to resolve a state probe into an Oct. 2 injury crash in San Francisco. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

Cruise has offered to pay $75,000 to settle a dispute with the state over whether the robotaxi service misled regulators about the aftermath of an October crash involving one of its driverless cars, according to a document filed Friday.

The embattled autonomous vehicle (AV) company made the offer in a motion seeking to defer an order on issues raised by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The state agency has accused the company of covering up key details after a Cruise vehicle struck and dragged a woman nearly 20 feet after she was first hit by a human-driven car in Downtown San Francisco on Oct. 2.

The General Motors-owned company has been ordered to appear at a Feb. 6 evidentiary hearing on the dispute. It faces up to $1.5 million in fines from the state alone, according to previous filings.

READ MORE: Cruise Imploded in 2023. Can the Robotaxi Industry Recover in the New Year?

“Cruise is committed to rebuilding trust with our regulators, increased transparency and cooperation with the CPUC, and providing the data and information the Commission needs to ensure that AV service is safe, equitable and accessible,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement to The Standard on Sunday.

A Cruise vehicle, which is a driverless, autonomous robotaxi, at a stoplight during the day in San Francisco.
Cruise has come under fire after one of its driverless vehicles struck and dragged a woman nearly 20 feet in San Francisco on Oct. 2. | Source: Hapabapa/Getty Images

After the Oct. 2 collision, Cruise pledged to beef up its technology as state and federal regulators turned their eyes on the robotaxi service. State officials pulled the company's ability to run its driverless cars soon after, later revealing that it did not disclose specific crash-related details. Cruise responded by pulling its robotaxis nationwide.

CEO Kyle Vogt and co-founder Dan Kan have since left, and General Motors has announced plans to substantially lower spending on the company. Last month, Cruise laid off 900 employees, or about a quarter of its staff, and nine executives.

In Friday's filing, Cruise said it has retained a law firm to investigate its interactions with state regulators in the aftermath of the crash and that it plans to make those findings public before next month's evidentiary hearing.

READ MORE: Laid-Off Cruise Worker Dishes on Lingering Impact of San Francisco Crash on Robotaxi Company

The company has also offered to adopt new data reporting enhancements, like providing regulators with more timely collision reports, and simultaneously provide the commission with its responses to the Department of Motor Vehicles' permit reinstatement questions. In exchange for the $75,000 and these other measures, Cruise is asking that the proceeding be formally closed.

The commission did not immediately respond to The Standard's request for comment on the offer.

George Kelly can be reached at gkelly@sfstandard.com