GM’s Cruise robotaxi company begins layoffs and withdraws its entire fleet from the market

Cruise, owned by General Motors, began laying off staff just a day after the robotaxi company’s operations were grounded following a recall sparked by reports that self-driving cars posed a danger to public safety.

Cruise announced the job cuts Thursday, which affected contract workers such as those who help with cleaning vehicles, loading fleets and responding to customer service inquiries, a spokesperson told The Post.

“Cruise has made the difficult decision to reduce a portion of the contingent workforce that supported driverless transportation operations,” the representative said.

The company did not disclose how many employees were laid off.

Cruise’s operations have been hampered by a series of errors that resulted in the company recalling its entire 950-car autonomous vehicle fleet to undergo a software update aimed at improving the vehicle’s “Collision Detection System.” .

The layoffs and recall are just the latest in what has been a bumpy road for Cruise, which reported it lost $723 million during the third quarter and then had its non-vehicle permit suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. driver.

GM shares fell more than 3% on Thursday, but recovered slightly on Friday.

Cruise announced layoffs Thursday that affect the robotaxi company’s contract workers, such as those who help with cleaning vehicles, loading fleets and handling customer service inquiries.

Just weeks before the suspension, on October 2, a Cruise car with no passengers struck a pedestrian on a San Francisco highway, dragging him about 20 feet and causing serious injuries before finally stopping.

The pedestrian, an unidentified woman, became so trapped under the left rear axle of the vehicle that she had to be rescued with Jaws of Life.

Cruise had claimed that its vehicle was braking “aggressively” to try to minimize the impact, and then said that its “teams are currently doing analysis to identify possible improvements to the AV’s response to this type of extremely rare event.”

Meanwhile, the DMV said the horrific crash had led it to conclude that “the manufacturer’s vehicles are not safe for operation by the public.”

“The manufacturer has misrepresented any information related to the safety of the autonomous technology in its vehicles,” he added.

Kyle Vlogt, founder and CEO of Cruise.
Kyle Vlogt, founder and CEO of Cruise.
Getty Images for TechCrunch

“This decision does not affect the company’s permission to conduct testing with a safety driver.”

A Cruise spokesperson confirmed to The Post that it was the Oct. 2 accident that prompted the recall.

However, it was not the only incident. In August, a Cruise robotaxi was also involved in an accident with a fire truck operating in an emergency in San Francisco, a city where drivers have increasingly had to begin sharing the roads with autonomous vehicles.

After the incident, Cruise investigated and said the car “identified the risk of collision and initiated a braking maneuver, reducing its speed, but was ultimately unable to avoid the collision.”

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