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Updated February 13th, 2024 at 14:09 IST

Cruise appoints Steve Kenner as Chief Safety Officer after recent accident

Kenner's appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Cruise, following a recent incident in which a pedestrian in San Francisco was struck by another vehicle.

Business Desk
Cruise robotaxi
Cruise robotaxi | Image:Cruise
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Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors focusing on autonomous vehicles, announced on Monday the appointment of Steve Kenner as its Chief Safety Officer. In this role, Kenner will oversee Cruise's safety management systems and operations, bringing with him extensive experience from both the automotive and technology industries.

With a career spanning over four decades, Kenner began his journey at GM in 1978 and later held positions such as Global Director of Automotive Safety at Ford (F.N). He has also contributed his expertise to companies like Apple, Uber, Locomotion, Chrysler, and most recently, self-driving trucking company Kodiak.

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Kenner's appointment comes at a pivotal moment for Cruise, following a recent incident in which a pedestrian in San Francisco was struck by another vehicle and thrown into the path of a self-driving Cruise vehicle. This incident led to the suspension of Cruise's driverless testing license in California and prompted the resignation of the unit's CEO and co-founder.

Underlining the importance of safety governance, Cruise's Co-President, Mo Elshenawy, stated, "Safety governance is a critical gating factor as we return to our mission and get Cruise cars back on the road safely."

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In response to the incident, Cruise commissioned a report from law firm Quinn Emanuel, which concluded that the company did not intend to mislead. Additionally, a technical review by engineering firm Exponent identified mapping errors and software issues, prompting Cruise to update its software accordingly.

Despite recent challenges, Cruise remains committed to prioritising safety and regulatory compliance. Kenner expressed his dedication to earning the trust of regulators, underlining a shared goal of enhancing roadway safety and bolstering public confidence in the autonomous vehicle industry.

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Meanwhile, Cruise has been under scrutiny from regulatory bodies, including an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into pedestrian risks associated with its vehicles. The company has also raised its offer to settle an investigation by a California regulator regarding the delayed disclosure of details surrounding the pedestrian crash incident.

Kenner's appointment signals Cruise's proactive approach to addressing safety concerns and reaffirms its commitment to advancing the development of autonomous vehicle technology while ensuring the highest standards of safety and regulatory compliance.

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(With Reuters inputs)

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Published February 13th, 2024 at 14:09 IST

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