While Ford recently established a new self-driving tech company called Latitude AI and pivoted away from Level 4 and 5 autonomy in favor of Level 2 and 3 tech, its cross-town rival – General Motors – continues to deal with a massive scandal after a vehicle from its own autonomous unit – Cruise – dragged a person down the road after they were hit by another vehicle. Along with suspending Cruise’s operations temporarily, we’ve seen the CEO depart the company – along with some other executives – GM slash its budget considerably, and executives admit that it will take some time to regain the public’s trust. Now, Cruise has hired a familiar face to be its new chief safety officer – former Ford executive Steve Kenner, according to our sister site, GM Authority.
Kenner actually began his career at General Motors as an engineer, but has spent the past four decades at various companies within the automotive industry. That includes Ford, where he was Global Director of Automotive Safety for some time. In his new role, Kenner will oversee Cruise’s safety management systems and operations – working in direct partnership with the Cruise Board of Directors – and will report to Cruise President and Chief Administrative Officer Craig Glidden.
“As we look forward to Cruise’s next chapter, we know we must continually improve our overall safety performance and work to build trust with regulators, other government officials and our communities,” Glidden said. “Steve Kenner brings the perfect blend of experience in AV and automotive safety excellence to help deliver on these important priorities.”
“Safety requires that every team within a company work together to put passengers and other road users first. That partnership must include regulators, and I look forward to earning their trust. At the end of the day we have the same goal as regulators: to make our roadways safer and establish public confidence in the AV industry,” Kenner said. “I have worked on safety critical technologies throughout my career, I believe in the safety potential of autonomous vehicles, and I want to safely and responsibly realize that potential.”