Cruise pulls all of its vehicles off public roads amid expanded safety investigation, staffing changes

Kyle Vogt, CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Cruise Automation Inc., during the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, U.S., Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Jordan Vonderhaar | Bloomberg | Getty Images

cruise, General MotorsThe Division of Driverless Vehicles announced Tuesday that it will suspend all public road operations — both supervised and manual — extending last month's pause in driverless operations.

“This orderly pause is a further step to restore public confidence while we undergo a full security review,” Cruz wrote. blog post. “We will continue to operate our vehicles in a closed training environment and maintain an active simulation program to stay focused on the development of AV technologies.”

The self-driving car division has faced safety concerns and incidents since receiving approval in August for a round-the-clock robotaxi service in San Francisco. Last week, Cruise announced it was recalling 950 Robotaxis after pedestrian collisions. In October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise's deployment and testing permits for its autonomous vehicles, effective immediately.

“When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV may immediately suspend or revoke permits,” the California DMV said in a statement at the time.

Federal auto safety regulators are also investigating Cruise after multiple reports of pedestrian injuries.

The decision to suspend all travel on public roads came after a board meeting at Cruz's headquarters in San Francisco on Monday. The company also announced reorganization and more oversight GMCraig Glidden, GM's EVP of legal and policy, will become Cruz's chief administrative officer, with Cruz's legal and policy, communications and finance teams as direct reports. Glidden will also work closely with CEO Kyle Vogt and senior leadership to “oversee work processes around transparency and community engagement,” according to Cruz.

The company also announced it will hire an independent “safety expert” in the coming weeks to evaluate Cruise's safety operations and culture, following a decision announced last week to hire a chief safety officer. In addition, Exponent — the engineering consulting firm Cruise hired to analyze the Oct. 2 crash that seriously injured a pedestrian — will now expand its investigation into a full review of Cruise's technical and safety systems, according to a blog post.

Cruise did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suspension stirs in the company. Last Thursday, Cruise announced a round of contractor layoffs.

“Cruise has made the difficult decision to reduce a portion of its contingent workforce supporting non-motorized rail operations,” a company spokesperson told CNBC in a statement Thursday. “These contingent workers were responsible for tasks such as cleaning, charging and maintenance of the fleet, and we are grateful for their contribution.”

One of Cruise's contractors, who worked for the company through Unifi and asked to remain anonymous, told CNBC that on paper that may have been the job description, but in reality, they were also often responsible for reprogramming the machines, physically updating the software on the machines. After updating. , download data and more. The contractor also said some of their employees learned about the shift cancellation through a posted sign, along with an email.

Cruise told CNBC on Thursday that the layoffs reflect its temporary suspension without a driver and that the company plans to “continue supervised operations without passengers.” However, for the time being, he also stopped these operations.

In GM's third-quarter earnings update, the company said it lost about $1.9 billion on Cruise through September of this year.