Cruise co-founder Daniel Kahn has left the troubled autonomous-car company, Reuters reported on Monday.
His departure as chief product officer comes a day after Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt announced he was leaving the company the pair founded 10 years ago.
The significant upheaval follows a series of safety incidents involving its driverless cars on the streets of San Francisco, the same city where the General Motors-backed startup is headquartered.
The most serious of these incidents occurred in San Francisco in October when a Cruise car ran over a woman, who was then struck by a human-driven vehicle shortly thereafter. He then dragged her on the road, trying to pull her to the side of the road.
The incident prompted California regulators to withdraw Cruise’s operating permit. Shortly thereafter, General Motors announced it was suspending driverless testing of cruise cars nationwide, which meant removing its vehicles from Texas, Arizona and Florida.
And in early November Vogt told employees that the company was halting production of its fully driverless Origin vehicle, a futuristic-looking vehicle that it hopes to one day use for robotaxi services.
Kahn has not yet made any public comments about his decision to leave Cruz. Vogt, on the other hand, posted a message On Sunday, on social media, he refused to give the reason for his departure.
Instead, Vogt said he plans to spend time with his family and explore new ideas, and he’s excited to see what Cruise comes up with next.
“The last 10 years have been amazing,” Vogt wrote in his post. “I am grateful to everyone who helped the cruise. The startup I launched in my garage has delivered more than 250,000 driverless rides across multiple cities, each ride inspiring people with a little insight into the future.
He said Cruise “is just getting started, and I believe it has a great future.” The people of Cruz are talented, motivated and resilient. They are working on a solid, multi-year roadmap and an exciting product vision.
Trying to remain upbeat, he added: “To my former colleagues at Cruise and GM – you’ve got this! Whatever originally motivated you to work on AVs, remember why this work matters. The status quo on our streets sucks, but together we’ve proven that something better is in the near future.”
Cruise has not yet announced a replacement for the CEO and chief product officer, although The New York Times reported that GM has added two new members to Cruise’s board and that Mo Elshenawy, Cruise’s executive vice president of engineering, will become president of the firm.
In early November, after suspending his operations across the country, Cruz said: “The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to rebuild public trust,” he added, “in part “It involves taking a hard look inward and paying attention to how we operate.” On a cruise, even if it means doing things that are inconvenient or difficult.