Following the pedestrian collision on October 2nd, Cruise had its driverless vehicle permit revoked in California, but the company is now also voluntarily pausing its supervised and manual robotaxi operation in the US “in the coming days.” This will be part of an expanded safety probe conducted by independent engineering consulting firm, Exponent, which originally came on board to focus on “a technical root cause analysis” of the aforementioned accident. The suspended manual operation will apparently affect around 70 vehicles — a fraction of Cruise’s fleet of 950 robotaxis, which were recalled following the freak accident instigated by a separate hit-and-run.
The same announcement shared that Craig Glidden, General Motors’ Executive Vice President of Legal and Policy and Cruise board member, will be joining the subsidiary as Chief Administrative Officer. The exec will oversee Cruise’s legal, communications and finance teams, on top of his current role at GM. The company is also continuing its search for a permanent Chief Safety Officer, while retaining “a third-party safety expert in the coming weeks to perform a full assessment of Cruise’s safety operations and culture.”
It’ll be an uphill battle for Cruise from here on out. Recent reports discovered that these robotaxis struggled to detect children, not to mention the firm’s seeming lack of data around child-specific situations on the streets. Despite this known flaw, Cruise continued to operate its autonomous vehicles on the streets. It is also reported that Cruise employees will face layoffs over the next two weeks, as the company struggles to regain trust from the public and authorities — not just for itself, but also for the entire robotaxi industry.