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Cruise, GM’s Self-Driving Unit, Faces Layoffs Amid Ongoing Safety Investigation

General Motors’ autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise, announced significant layoffs affecting nearly 1 in 4 employees as it grapples with an ongoing safety investigation into its robotaxis. The job cuts come shortly after GM let go of nine Cruise executives, including Chief Operating Officer Gil West, amid the safety probe. The layoffs impact 24% of full-time Cruise employees, reflecting the company’s adjusted operating plans.

Safety Investigation and Executive Changes

GM previously halted Cruise’s robotaxi operations for a safety probe following an incident in which a Cruise vehicle struck and dragged a woman in San Francisco on October 2. The safety concerns have led to increased scrutiny from California regulators. In response to the incident, nine Cruise executives, including COO Gil West, resigned. CEO Kyle Vogt and co-founder Dan Kan had also resigned in recent weeks.

Transparency and Accountability

In a company memo obtained by FOX Business, Cruise expressed its commitment to transparency, accountability, and rebuilding trust in the aftermath of the safety incident. The memo noted that the personnel changes, including executive departures, were deemed necessary for Cruise to move forward with a focus on safety, integrity, and accountability. New leadership is considered essential to achieving these goals.

Setback for Cruise’s Autonomous Taxi Service

The safety concerns and regulatory actions represent a major setback for Cruise, which had plans to expand its autonomous taxi service to more U.S. cities. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended Cruise’s testing and deployment permits for robotaxis indefinitely. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a safety probe into Cruise’s autonomous driving system following rear-end crashes.

Production Pause and Potential Fines

Cruise recently announced plans to halt production of its Cruise Origin van, a self-driving vehicle jointly developed by GM, Cruise, and Honda. The company could face $1.5 million in fines and additional sanctions for failing to disclose details surrounding the accident, according to a California agency. Mo Elshenawy took over as Cruise’s president and acknowledged that the autonomous vehicle unit has hit an “all-time low.”

The layoffs underscore the challenges faced by autonomous vehicle companies, highlighting the need for strict safety protocols and transparent communication with regulatory authorities to build and maintain public trust.

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