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In these crucial times, GM Cruise Names Former Ford and Apple Executive as Safety Chief

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Steve Kenner was named as the new chief safety officer of Cruise, the autonomous vehicle unit of General Motors, with the intention of strengthening safety procedures throughout the company. Kenner, a seasoned veteran with a wealth of knowledge in the technology and automotive sectors, is in charge of managing Cruise’s safety management systems and activities.

Kenner began working at General Motors in 1978, thus he has a plethora of experience. He has worked for digital behemoths like Apple and ride-sharing services like Uber, in addition to holding notable positions like worldwide director of automobile safety at Ford. He most recently worked for a self-driving trucking business called Kodiak as the vice president of safety.

Kenner’s hiring comes at a critical time for Cruise, as the business struggles with ongoing issues. The company’s driverless testing license in California was suspended following a noteworthy incident in San Francisco where a pedestrian was injured by another automobile and thrown into the path of a Cruise self-driving car. Following this, all autonomous car testing in the United States was stopped, which ultimately resulted in the CEO and co-founder of Cruise quitting.

The necessity of putting safety first in their operations was emphasized by Cruise Co-President Mo Elshenawy, who said, “Safety governance is a critical gating factor as we return to our mission and get Cruise cars back on the road safely.”

Following the event, Cruise hired Quinn Emanuel, a legal firm, to conduct a probe, which found no evidence of intentional deception. Furthermore, the software of the Cruise car was found to have mapping issues and improper collision recognition following a technical evaluation by the engineering company Exponent, which prompted the necessary modifications.

In order to overcome these obstacles, GM and Cruise both planned major budget cuts for Cruise in 2024. Cruise also announced staff cutbacks. In the meanwhile, an inquiry into the hazards to pedestrians connected to Cruise’s activities was launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Cruise boosted its offer to settle a California regulator’s inquiry into the delayed release of the information of the October 2 pedestrian collision in an attempt to allay regulatory worries.

Kenner said, “We have the same goal as regulators: to make our roadways safer and establish public confidence in the AV industry.” as an expression of his dedication to safety and regulatory compliance.

By appointing Kenner, Cruise intends to demonstrate a proactive stance towards guaranteeing the security and dependability of autonomous car technology, strengthen its safety protocols, and win back the confidence of regulatory agencies as well as the industry.

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