The CEO of General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit, Cruise, Kyle Vogt, has resigned amid a safety review of the company’s U.S. fleet. Vogt’s departure came a day after he issued an apology to the staff and weeks after Cruise had to halt testing of its self-driving vehicles in the United States to conduct a safety assessment. The safety review was prompted by an October 2 accident involving one of Cruise’s self-driving taxis, which resulted in a pedestrian being dragged.
Vogt, who founded Cruise in 2013, provided limited explanation for his resignation, stating in an email to staff, “I have resigned from my position.” He took responsibility for the challenges the company was facing, emphasizing the need to prioritize safety, transparency, and community engagement. Cruise had ambitious plans to expand its autonomous taxi services to more cities, but the recent safety concerns have dealt a blow to the industry, which relies on public trust and regulatory cooperation.
The Cruise board, along with General Motors, intensified scrutiny of the leadership in the wake of the safety issues. GM’s general counsel, Craig Glidden, was appointed as Cruise’s chief administrative officer, and a third-party safety expert was enlisted to assess safety operations and culture. GM CEO Mary Barra expressed confidence in Cruise’s mission and technology, emphasizing their commitment to making transportation safer and more accessible.
Former Tesla President Jon McNeill, a GM director, was named vice chairman of the Cruise board. Cruise faces competition from Alphabet’s Waymo in the deployment of autonomous vehicles and had been testing its self-driving cars in various U.S. cities, including its home base of San Francisco. In October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles ordered Cruise to remove its driverless cars from state roads, citing a risk to the public.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated an investigation into pedestrian risks associated with Cruise, and the Cruise board hired a law firm to review management’s responses to regulators investigating the October 2 accident. Despite the challenges, Vogt expressed optimism about Cruise’s future, stating that the company is “still just getting started.”
GM CEO Mary Barra remains optimistic about Cruise’s potential, projecting $50 billion in revenue by 2030. However, the company reported a loss of over $700 million in the third quarter of the year, attributed to its expansion plans to 15 U.S. cities. The circumstances surrounding Vogt’s resignation and the ongoing safety review underscore the critical importance of addressing concerns and rebuilding public trust in the autonomous vehicle industry.