Cruise didn’t hide the pedestrian dragging video from regulators — there was just bad internet

Cruise, General Motors’ self-driving car subsidiary, tried to send a 45-second video to regulators of an incident in which one of its self-driving cars dragged a pedestrian 20 feet, but was hampered by “internet connection issues,” said a researcher. report prepared by a law firm investigating the incident.

The law firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, was hired by Cruise to determine whether executives misled regulators in the aftermath of the Oct. 2 incident in which a hit-and-run driver struck a pedestrian and knocked her into the path of a driverless man . Cruise vehicle. The conclusions are detailed in a nearly 200-page report released today.

Cruise also announced for the first time that the incident was being investigated by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In response to the crash, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s license to operate his vehicles in the state. The department also accused the company of withholding portions of the video of the incident, which showed the vehicle dragging the pedestrian to the curb in an attempt to stop. Cruise denies the accusation and claims the agency showed the entire video.

“Internet connection problems”

The law firm’s report appears to support both claims. The company concludes that “the weight of the evidence” confirms that Cruise “played or attempted to play the entire video” of the car dragging the woman to the curb during the Oct. 3 briefing with regulators and other government officials.

“However, at three of these meetings there were internet connection issues that likely prevented them from seeing the full video clearly and completely,” the report said. “And Cruise failed to expand on the entire video by affirmatively pointing out the stopping maneuver and dragging the pedestrian.”

More than 100 Cruise employees were aware of the pedestrian towing incident prior to the Oct. 3 meeting with the San Francisco mayor’s office, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the DMV and other government officials. But Cruise said nothing about the pedestrian being dragged, instead “letting the video speak for itself.” A poor internet connection prevented that.

“Because Cruise took this approach, these facts were not verbally stated,” the company said.

In the immediate hours after the incident, some of Cruise’s employees were unaware that the vehicle was dragging the pedestrian as they attempted to stop. They issued a press statement and began sharing an early video with journalists. But after becoming aware of it, Cruise failed to update his statement or share the full video of the incident.

Cruise said nothing about the pedestrian being dragged, preferring to let the video speak for itself

Similarly, Cruise leadership was “fixated” on correcting the media narrative that the Cruise vehicle, and not the hit driver, caused the accident. This “myopic focus” led the company to withhold details about the role its own vehicle played in injuring the pedestrian. Cruise’s failure to correct the data led regulators and the media to accuse the company of misleading them, the company said.

In large part, a culture of antagonism toward regulators at Cruise has contributed to these shortcomings. In his interviews with employees, Cruise found “too much of an ‘us versus them’ attitude… that is not indicative of a healthy, mutually productive relationship,” the Quinn Emanuel report says.

The company says it is a “fundamentally flawed approach” to assume a video can “speak for itself” and eliminates the need to disclose all details to regulators and government officials. “As a Cruise employee stated in a text message to another employee regarding this matter, our ‘leaders have failed us,’” the report said.

A number of executives resigned in the wake of the incident, including co-founders Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan. The company has halted its driverless operations nationwide, appointed a new chief safety officer and recalled all 950 vehicles. Nearly a quarter of Cruise’s employees have been laid off as GM withdraws some of the company’s funding.

“We are focused on advancing our technology and regaining public trust,” Cruise said in a blog post in response to the report.

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