General Motor's Cruise self-driving car is designed to operate on its own with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls

GM self-driving car division recalls cars after crash

The General Motors Cruise self-driving vehicle is designed to operate independently without a driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File SCOTT OLSON

General Motor Cruise’s autonomous vehicle division has recalled 80 vehicles and updated their software after one failed to correctly predict the path of an oncoming vehicle.

The company, which first deployed self-driving taxis in San Francisco in June, sent a notice this week to the US traffic safety agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In documents released to the public on Thursday, Cruise explains that on June 3, one of its cars was hit from behind by another car after crashing while making an unprotected left turn.

The document says the self-driving car decided that “hard braking is necessary to avoid a serious frontal collision with an oncoming vehicle.”

According to a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, two people received minor injuries.

The police determined that another car was primarily to blame for the incident, as it was not driving in the correct lane and was driving at an excessive speed.

However, the NHTSA did not completely exonerate Cruz, stating that the software could “under certain circumstances, in an unprotected left turn, cause the ADS (automatic driving system) to incorrectly predict the path of another vehicle or not respond sufficiently.”

Cruz has modified the software and says that if the car is in the same situation again, it will act differently to avoid the error.

Automakers, led by Tesla, have been working on developing autonomous driving and driving assistance systems for several years, but progress has been slower than originally thought.

Waymo, a competitor to Cruise and a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has been offering a taxi booking program in Phoenix, Arizona for several years.

Cruise is the first company to receive a permit for paid passenger transportation in a major city.

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