Cruise self-driving car in San Francisco

Cruise resignations with US public confidence in self-driving under pressure

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Self-driving suspension costs 2 Cruise co-founders their dream jobs

It has taken about a month, but the self-driving testing permit suspension in California has cost two Cruise high-ups their jobs, with both co-founder and CEO, Kyle Vogt, and fellow co-founder and chief product officer, Daniel Kan, gone in the space of 24 hours.

Vogt went first, on Sunday 19 November, telling staff in an email seen by Reuters: “I have resigned from my position.

“As CEO, I take responsibility for the situation Cruise is in today. There are no excuses, and there is no sugar coating what has happened. We need to double down on safety, transparency, and community engagement.”

He was followed out the door the very next day by Kan, who announced his resignation in a Slack message to staff, noting that Cruise robotaxis have been providing 10,000 rides per week.

“I know Cruise will achieve that again soon,” he said.

Cruise self-driving system 2023
Cruise self-driving system 2023

Self-driving resignations

The resignations come weeks after a Cruise car struck a pedestrian following a hit-and-run by a human-driven vehicle – their response to which led to the drastic California Department of Motor Vehicles action.

US self-driving expert, Alex Roy, described the departures as inevitable.

Cruise are effectively now back to testing with a safety driver – around the same stage we’re at in the UK, while we wait for the new Automated Vehicles (AV) Bill to legalise full self-driving.

If it was just a case of going back to square one, that’d be bad enough, but the massive dent to already fragile public confidence is now an issue for the whole industry globally.

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.