GM's Cruise Restarts Self-Driving Tests In Phoenix With Safety Drivers On Board

General Motors Co’s GM autonomous driving unit Cruise said on Monday that it would start supervised autonomous driving in Phoenix this week, in an attempt to validate its safety which is under question since one of its robotaxis got involved in a pedestrian accident last year.

What Happened: The vehicles will drive autonomously but will have a safety driver present to take over the wheel if needed. While it will start in the city of Phoenix, the testing will gradually expand to Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler, the company said.

Cruise restarted manual driving in the city of Phoenix to gather road information in April after a months-long hiatus. These vehicles, Cruise then said, will be driven by humans without autonomous systems engaged.

The company has strengthened the safety of its self-driving system and intends to demonstrate that the model works in one city before expanding to the next, GM CEO Mary Barra said about the decision.

Why It Matters: Cruise accrued expenses of $400 million in the first quarter as compared to the $800 million in the quarter before. The company expects the unit's full-year expenses to be around $1.7 billion. The company is also exploring a few options to fund Cruise, including outside investment, Barra said last month.

Cruise paused all operations in the U.S. by the end of last year following the involvement of one of its robotaxis in an accident in San Francisco in October. The company is now trying to rebuild customer and regulator trust gradually with its step-up-step relaunch.

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