Vogt steps down as CEO of Cruise amid safety questions and self-driving vehicle recalls

Kyle Vogt has stepped down as CEO of Cruise, General Motors' self-driving vehicle unit, as questions arise about the safety of self-driving cars.

Vogt's decision to step down, announced late Sunday, follows a recent recall of all 950 Cruise vehicles for a software update after one of them dragged a pedestrian onto the side of a San Francisco street in early October. The California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the license for the cruise.

The company announced earlier that it had suspended operations pending a review by independent experts.

“The results of our ongoing audits will inform additional next steps as we work to build a better cruise focused on safety, transparency and trust,” the company said in a statement. “We will continue to advance AV technology in service of our mission to make transportation safer, cleaner and more affordable.”

Cruise won approval to carry fare-paying passengers last year. Since then, self-driving vehicles have drawn criticism for unexpected traffic-blocking stops that critics say threaten to inconvenience other travelers and endanger public safety.

Late last year, US safety regulators said they were investigating reports that the autonomous robotaxis operated by Cruise could stop too quickly or unexpectedly stop moving, potentially trapping passengers.

Cruise's problems could slow the development of fully autonomous vehicles that carry passengers without human drivers. It could also bring stronger federal regulation of the vehicles, which carry passengers to more cities nationwide.

Cruise was testing 300 robotaxis during the day, when it could only offer rides for free, and 100 robotaxis at night, when it was allowed to charge for rides in less congested parts of San Francisco. Vogt said earlier that most crashes were caused by inattentive or impaired human drivers, not AVs.

Cruise's statement said its board accepted Vogt's resignation. Mo Elshenawy, Cruise's executive vice president of engineering, will become president and chief technology officer. It said Craig Glidden will also serve as chairman and continue as chief operating officer for Cruise, an appointment previously announced.

GM acquired a majority stake in Cruise when it was a startup in 2016. The company invested to take 80% of the company in May 2021.

Vogt attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founded Twitch, an interactive live streaming service for content including gaming, entertainment, sports and music. Amazon acquired Twitch for around $1 billion in 2014.