Cruise left driverless: CEO resigns amid controversy

20 Nov 2023

Image: © Sundry Photography/

Kyle Vogt’s decision to leave comes after Cruise had its driverless taxi permit suspended in California, after one of its vehicles dragged a hit-and-run victim roughly 20ft.

General Motors-owned company Cruise has taken a hit to its leadership, as its CEO and co-founder – Kyle Vogt – has resigned from his position in the company.

His decision follows a controversial period for Cruise, which recently had its driverless taxi permit suspended in the US state of California over safety concerns.

In a post on X today (20 November), Vogt confirmed his decision to resign but spoke positively about his time with Cruise. He said a venture that began in his garage eventually provided more than 250,000 driverless rides across several cities and gave its customers a “small taste of the future”.

Vogt said he plans to spend time with his family and “explore some new ideas” following his departure.

“To my former colleagues at Cruise and GM – you’ve got this,” Vogt said. “Regardless of what originally brought you to work on AVs [automated vehicles], remember why this work matters.

“The status quo on our roads sucks, but together we’ve proven there is something far better around the corner.”

Cruise has been testing its commercial driverless taxi service in the US for years, but received a significant boost earlier this year when it was given the right to operate this service “at any time of day” in San Francisco.

However, the company’s automated vehicles have been connected to a number of road incidents in recent months, which has raised concerns about their level of safety. One week after being granted the license to operate fully in San Francisco, one of the company’s taxis was involved in a collision with an emergency vehicle.

In September, reports from the San Francisco Fire Department claimed Cruise robotaxis blocked an ambulance that was trying to reach a critically injured patient, who later died from their injuries.

But the biggest incident happened last month, when videos emerged of a hit-and-run victim pinned under the back wheels of a Cruise robotaxi.

Cruise shared a “detailed review” of the incident and claims its automated vehicle (AV) braked aggressively after another car hit a pedestrian and flung the person in the direction of the robotaxi.

“The AV detected a collision, bringing the vehicle to a stop; then attempted to pull over to avoid causing further road safety issues, pulling the individual forward approximately 20ft,” Cruise said in the review.

After that incident, its permit to operate automated taxis in California was suspended by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Earlier this month, Cruise recalled 950 of its robotaxis after it found defects in its automated driving system software, CNBC reported.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic