In a surprising decision, Kyle Vogt, the CEO of General Motors’ robot-taxi unit Cruise, announced his resignation amidst a safety review of the company’s self-driving fleet. A safety review was undertaken following an incident where a pedestrian was dragged by one of Cruise’s self-driving taxis. Vogt took responsibility for the situation, offering a rare note of contrition in an email to staff, expressing the need to prioritize safety and transparency. The company had been working on ambitious plans to expand to additional cities and offer fully autonomous taxi rides, but has now pulled all of its vehicles from testing in the U.S.
This resignation and the subsequent safety review are a setback for the autonomous vehicle industry, which heavily relies on public trust and cooperation from regulators. Cruise is competing with Alphabet’s Waymo in deploying autonomous vehicles and had been testing hundreds in different U.S. cities. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ordered Cruise to remove its driverless cars from state roads after deeming them a public risk. The resignation of Vogt comes at a critical time for Cruise, raising questions about the future of the company and the development of autonomous technology.
It remains to be seen how Cruise will navigate through this turbulence in the months ahead. The resignation of Kyle Vogt and the safety review place Cruise in a challenging position as it faces regulatory scrutiny and works to rebuild public trust in its self-driving technology. The future of the company and the autonomous industry at large now seems uncertain as Cruise grapples with the fallout from the recent incident.