Last year, Ford announced that it was shutting down Argo AI, the self-driving commercial vehicle company that it had invested heavily in over the past few years. While this decision seemed a bit surprising at first, the automaker’s reasoning for doing so was that it had come to the determination that Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving tech likely won’t become profitable for a long time, so instead, FoMoCo decided to focus its efforts on Level 2 and Level 3 driver aids. Since then, Ford has created a new company to do just that – Latitude AI – which employs former Argo AI engineers and uses its facilities, to boot. Meanwhile, Ford’s rival General Motors has been working on developing its own autonomous tech via a separate entity called Cruise, though CEO and founder Kyle Vogt recently announced that he was departing the company following a bit of a scandal, and now, several other leaders have been fired, according to GM Authority.
Along with Vogt’s departure from Cruise – which was followed by the resignation of co-founder Daniel Kan – the company has been in a bit of a downward spiral, laying of 24 percent of its staff. Now, the company has announced that a host of other executives are also being let go, a list that includes COO Gil West, Chief Legal Officer Jeff Bleich, Cruise Head of Government Affairs David Estrada, and Vice-President of Global Affairs Prashanthi Raman.
“As a company, we are committed to full transparency and rebuilding trust, and operating at the highest standard when it comes to safety, integrity and accountability,” Cruise co-president Craig Glidden said in a statement. “As a result, we believe new leadership is necessary to achieve these goals.”
“The personnel decisions made today are a necessary step for Cruise to move forward as it focuses on accountability, trust, and transparency,” a GM spokesperson added. “GM remains committed to supporting Cruise in these efforts.”
As Ford Authority previously reported, an autonomous Cruise vehicle trapped and drug a pedestrian down the road this past October after that person was hit by another vehicle, while the company has also been facing an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a California DMV driverless permit suspension as a result. Following all of this, Cruise decided to suspend all of its autonomous rides in as it continues to investigate what went wrong in the aforementioned case, and recently issued a recall designed to update the collision detection system in its robotaxis.