Following a month-long incident wherein the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) withdrew autonomous vehicle firm Cruise’s robotaxi permits and suspended all operations, company CEO Kyle Vogt called an all-hands meeting on November 6 to discuss concerns about the safety of the brand’s self-driving products.
According to Forbes, which broke the story earlier today, one of the initial announcements involved the suspension of The Origin, a fully autonomous vehicle whose production was set to increase by Cruise’s parent firm, General Motors.
In audio acquired by Forbes, Vogt mentioned the company’s recent decision to cease driverless operations throughout its entire autonomous vehicle fleet, telling employees that “because a lot of this is in flux, we did decide with GM to pause production of the Origin.”
The Origin halt is a significant setback to Cruise, which has been under regulatory scrutiny since it was discovered that one of its vehicles had hit and dragged a woman who had been hit by another vehicle, as initially reported by Forbes. Furthermore, the Origin lacks pedals or manual steering controls and is fully autonomous.
GM CEO Mary Barra told investors on October 24 that the Cruise would be available in Tokyo by 2026. However, due to the setback, she stated:
“Safety is always the top priority as Cruise continues to push the limits of what autonomous vehicles can provide society.” In addition, the company is constantly making improvements.
Chaiti Sen, a spokesperson for GM, told Forbes in a statement that the business was “finishing production on a small number of pre-commercial vehicles” and was indeed “temporarily” pausing production. “In general, we think that self-driving cars will revolutionize global mobility, and the Origin is a crucial component of the AV journey—it’s the first scalable car ever made for self-driving rides and will increase accessibility to transportation,” Sen stated via email.