GM halts production of jointly developed driverless van with Honda
【Summary】GM plans to temporarily halt production of its autonomous Cruise Origin van, which was co-developed with Honda, following a pause in all driverless operations. The company has already produced hundreds of Origin vehicles, which is considered sufficient for the near-term. The decision comes after California regulators suspended Cruise's license, citing safety concerns. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating Cruise's precautions for pedestrian safety.
General Motors announced on Monday that it will temporarily halt production of its fully autonomous Cruise Origin van. This decision comes just days after the unit announced a pause in all driverless operations. The news was first reported by Forbes, which cited an audio recording of Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt's address at an all-hands meeting.
During the meeting, Vogt informed staff that the company has already produced hundreds of Origin vehicles, stating that it is "more than enough for the near-term when we are ready to ramp things back up." A GM spokesperson confirmed the temporary production pause, stating that they are currently finishing production on a small number of pre-commercial vehicles.
The spokesperson emphasized the company's belief in the transformative power of autonomous vehicles, stating that "we believe autonomous vehicles will transform the way people move around the world, and the Origin is an important part of the AV journey."
Cruise, the driverless car unit of General Motors, had previously announced a nationwide halt in operations after its license was suspended by California regulators. The regulators cited concerns regarding the safety of self-driving vehicles. In February 2022, Cruise petitioned U.S. regulators seeking permission to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving Origin vehicles annually without human controls.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had previously stated that it expected to make a decision on the petition in a matter of weeks. However, last month, the NHTSA opened a new investigation into Cruise's safety precautions for pedestrians. This investigation follows an ongoing probe that was initiated in December.
The Cruise Origin vehicle, which is built in Detroit, was developed through a collaboration between GM, Cruise, and Honda. In response to the ongoing investigations, Cruise's board has hired law firm Quinn Emanuel to review management's responses to regulators and technology consultancy Exponent to assess Cruise's technology.
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