In a striking development at General Motors' self-driving unit Cruise, co-founder and chief product officer Daniel Kan has resigned. This announcement comes just a day after the departure of Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. The decision adds to the upheaval at Cruise, currently facing a safety review of its U.S. fleet.
Vogt, 38, offered scant details on his resignation, simply stating in an email to staff, "I have resigned from my position." His exit followed increased scrutiny by GM and the board at Cruise, particularly after a significant accident in October involving one of Cruise's autonomous vehicles and a pedestrian. This incident prompted the withdrawal of all Cruise vehicles from U.S. testing for a safety assessment.
Kan's departure was communicated via a Slack message, with no further explanation provided. In his message, Kan reflected on Cruise's achievements, noting the company had been serving 10,000 rides per week, expressing confidence in its future success.
This period marks a challenging phase for Cruise, which had recently announced ambitious expansion plans. The safety review and executive exits signal a potential setback for the industry, heavily reliant on public trust and regulatory cooperation.
In response to these challenges, GM has made significant leadership changes at Cruise. This includes appointing general counsel Craig Glidden as chief administrative officer and bringing in an external safety officer. Moreover, the company has named co-presidents to steer Cruise through this turbulent period.
The regulatory landscape for autonomous vehicles remains in its infancy, predominantly managed state by state. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasized the government's commitment to ensuring the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles like those developed by Cruise.
Cruise's situation is indicative of the broader challenges facing the autonomous vehicle industry, balancing technological advancement with safety and public confidence. As the political campaign season intensifies, it remains to be seen how these developments will impact the future of autonomous vehicle technology and its public perception.
While GM remains committed to Cruise and its mission, the recent events underscore the complexities and challenges of bringing autonomous vehicle technology to the mainstream market. The company's dedication to safety and regulatory compliance will likely play a crucial role in shaping the future of autonomous transportation.