Kyle Vogt, the CEO of Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit, has resigned due to growing concerns about the safety of autonomous cars. The decision comes shortly after the recall of 950 Cruise vehicles for a required software update following an incident in which a pedestrian was dragged to the side of a San Francisco street in early October.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles took further action by revoking Cruise’s license, leading to a pause in operations for an independent review by an expert. The company aims to address the concerns and build a safer and more reliable Cruise experience. Safety, transparency, and trust will be a priority in their plans as they continue to advance autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to make transportation safer and more accessible.
Critics have expressed complaints about Cruise’s autonomous vehicles, citing unexpected stops that cause traffic congestion and potentially affect public safety. The abrupt stops and erratic movements have led to investigations by US safety regulators, concerned that passengers may be stranded due to the behavior of AVs.
These challenges at Cruise have implications for the widespread implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. If not timely addressed, this could hinder progress in AVs that transport passengers without human drivers. Additionally, it could lead to stricter federal regulations around these vehicles, which are increasingly operating in cities across the country.
While Cruise maintains that most collisions were caused by human drivers, not AVs, the company’s board of directors has accepted Vogt’s resignation. Mo Elshenawy, Cruise’s Executive Vice President of Engineering, will assume the roles of President and Chief Technology Officer, while Craig Glidden will serve as Chairman and continue as Managing Director of Cruise.
Cruise, a startup in which GM acquired a majority stake (80%) in 2016, had plans for a prosperous future in the AV industry. However, safety concerns and setbacks have raised doubts about the company’s ability to overcome these obstacles. Cruise’s commitment to safety and its ability to regain public trust will be crucial in determining its future success.