The Cruise Safety Stand-Down -- What Happens Next?
Cruise has announced a fleet-wide safety stand-down. This involves suspending driverless operations in all cities, reverting to operation only with in-vehicle safety drivers.
I'm glad to see this step taken. But it is crucial to realize that this is the first step in what it likely to prove a long journey. The question is, what should happen next?
- Safety engineering -- Have they effectively identified and mitigated risks?
- Operational safety -- Safety procedures, inspections, maintenance, management of Operational Design Domain limits responsive to known issues, field data feedback, etc. This includes ensuring their Safety Management System (SMS) is effective.
- System engineering -- Do the different pieces work together effectively? This includes all the way from software in 3rd party components to vehicle integration to ability of remote operators to effectively manage gaps in capabilities ... and more
- Public messaging and regulatory interface -- Building genuine trust, starting with more transparency. Stop the blame game; accept accountability. Own it.
- Investor expectations -- Determine a scaling plan that is sustainable, and figure out how to fund it in the likely case it is longer than what was previously promised
- Definition of acceptable safety -- More concrete than seeing how it turns out based on crash data, with continual measurement of predictive metrics
- Safety culture -- Which underlies all of the above, and needs to start at the top.