Key figures depart Cruise amid robotaxi incidents

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Daniel Kan, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Cruise – the autonomous car firm backed by General Motors – has resigned. This development closely follows the departure of Cruise’s CEO and fellow co-founder, Kyle Vogt, who made his resignation announcement just a day prior.

The departure of both key figures comes in the wake of a series of safety incidents involving Cruise’s driverless cars on the streets of San Francisco, where the company is headquartered.

One of the most alarming incidents occurred in October when a Cruise car, operating in autonomous mode, came to a halt on top of a woman who had just been hit by a human-driven vehicle.

The incident led California regulators to revoke Cruise’s operating permit, prompting General Motors to suspend driverless testing nationwide. The decision affects operations in Texas, Arizona, and Florida.

Further compounding the challenges, Vogt revealed in early November that Cruise was halting production of its fully autonomous vehicle – the Origin – designed for future robotaxi services.

The departure of Chief Product Officer Daniel Kan, who has not yet commented publicly on his decision, raises questions about the leadership vacuum within the company.

Vogt, in a social media post, did not disclose the reason for his exit but expressed optimism about Cruise’s future, highlighting the team’s resilience and commitment to a long-term vision.

As Cruise faces this leadership crisis, industry observers speculate on the impact on the company’s efforts to rebuild public trust. No successors for the CEO and Chief Product Officer roles have been announced, but recent reports suggest changes at the board level and the appointment of Mo Elshenawy as the new president.

Cruise’s commitment to rebuilding public trust was underscored in November, with the company acknowledging the need for internal introspection. The challenges ahead raise critical questions about Cruise’s ability to navigate the autonomous vehicle landscape amid growing concerns about safety and regulatory scrutiny.

(Image Credit: Cruise)

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