U.S. safety regulators to probe crash involving self-driving car from GM-backed Cruise

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A robot car of the General Motors subsidiary Cruise is on a test drive in 2019.
Andrej Sokolow | picture alliance | Getty Images

Federal vehicle safety regulators will investigate a crash last month in which a vehicle struck a self-driving car from General Motors-backed Cruise. The incident resulted in minor injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday said it will open a special investigation into the incident, which occurred June 3 in San Francisco – a day after California regulators granted Cruise permission to commercialize its robotaxi fleet.

Occupants of both vehicles involved in the crash received medical treatment for “allegedly minor injuries,” according to a mandatory report filed by Cruise with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

According to the report, filed by Cruise Vice President of Global Markets Todd Brugger, a Toyota Prius entered an intersection after traveling straight via a lane designated for turning. The Cruise vehicle was attempting to make a left-hand turn across several lanes of traffic and had stopped to allow the car to turn.

The Prius was traveling about 40 mph in a 20 mph speed zone when it struck the Cruise vehicle, according to the filing. The Cruise vehicle was in “autonomous mode” at the time of the crash. It’s unclear if a safety driver, employee or other passenger was in the car.

The NHTSA, part of the Department of Transportation, confirmed the investigation but declined to offer other details. Cruise did not immediately respond for comment.

Separately on Thursday, the NHTSA opened another investigation into a fatal pedestrian crash in California involving a 2018 Tesla Model 3. It adds to more than 30 other probes into Tesla vehicles since 2016 in which advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot were a suspected factor.

Tesla crashes currently under investigation have resulted in 16 fatalities of vehicle occupants or pedestrians, according to the agency.

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