Cruise to reintroduce human-driven vehicle fleet in Phoenix

SAN FRANCISCO: General Motors' autonomous driving startup, Cruise, said on Tuesday it would reintroduce a small fleet of human-driven vehicles in some cities, starting with Phoenix in Arizona, about six months after it suspended operations following an incident in San Francisco.

The company had suspended its US operations last October after a pedestrian in San Francisco hit by another car was dragged by one of its robotaxis.

"Cruise is resuming manual driving to create maps and gather road information in select cities, starting in Phoenix. This work is done using human-driven vehicles without autonomous systems engaged," the company said in a blog post.

Cruise said the move is key to validate its self-driving systems in its path to return to driverless operations.

Its rival and Alphabet's self-driving startup Waymo has been operating and expanding services in Phoenix for several years and recently began offering driverless rides on freeways in the Arizona city.

Under Cruise's former CEO Kyle Vogt, company officials had earlier said their decision to focus on San Francisco would deliver a more robust autonomous vehicle technology than developing software on the broad boulevards of a city like Phoenix.

Cruise said during the operational pause over the last few months, it has been conducting extensive tests in complex environments and on closed courses to ensure continuous retraining and improvement.
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