Cruise, GM halt production of Origin self-driving van amid safety concerns

Credit: Cruise

General Motors (GM) is set to pause production of the Cruise Origin self-driving van following multiple incidents with the subsidiary’s driverless taxis in San Francisco.

After a self-driving Cruise taxi dragged and pinned a woman in the California city last month, the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) immediately suspended the company’s license to operate driverless vehicles. This and other incidents with Cruise’s robotaxis have sparked new investigations and caused the company to re-evaluate its self-driving approach, including plans to cease production on the upcoming driverless van.

Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt tried to address concerns about the safety of the company’s autonomous vehicles during a company-wide meeting on Monday, from which Forbes obtained audio. During the address, Vogt said that GM will be pausing production of the Origin van, which was expected to ramp up in the coming months.

Vogt told workers, “because a lot of this is in flux, we did make the decision with GM to pause production of the Origin.”

The company was planning to build the Origin van without a steering wheel or pedals, expected to be completely autonomous. Cruise was scheduled to debut the driverless vehicle this year, with some units already having been produced. Vogt also said last year the vehicle would be able to act as a delivery courier when not in use as a robotaxi.

During the meeting, Vogt said that GM had produced hundreds of the Origin van thus far, which he added would be “more than enough for the near-term when we are ready to ramp things back up.”

Vogt also said Cruise is actively cooperating with its regulators and partners during this time, and reports last week showed that the company has hired a third-party legal firm and a technology consultant to aid its internal reviews.

“During this pause we’re going to use our time wisely,” Vogt said.

Just last month, GM CEO Mary Barra said Cruise hoped to have the vehicle on the road in Tokyo as soon as 2026.

“As Cruise continues to push the boundaries of what AV technology can deliver society, safety is always at the forefront,” Barra said during GM’s Q3 earnings call. “And this is something they are continuously improving.”

DMV officials noted that Cruise had “omitted” and “misrepresented” certain details about the October 2 accident with a pedestrian, and Vogt went on to highlight the company’s need to regain the public’s trust during the pause. In addition to facing local scrutiny, Cruise has also garnered additional investigations from federal regulators.

“And so if we want to rebuild trust with these groups, we have got to make sure that we are having those discussions and they hear things from us first and not from the press,” Vogt added during the Monday meeting. “So, candidly because we’ve had some leaks about information coming out of this meeting we have got to be careful what we share from this meeting, or these efforts to rebuild trust could backfire.”

The news of GM’s production pause on the Origin van was later confirmed by GM spokesperson Chaiti Sen, who told Forbes that the automaker would be “finishing production on a small number of pre-commercial vehicles,” before “temporarily” ending production.

“More broadly speaking, we believe autonomous vehicles will transform the way people move around the world, and the Origin is an important part of the AV journey – it’s the first scalable vehicle ever designed specifically for autonomous rides and will make transportation more accessible,” she added in the email.

Cruise is essentially a competitor to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD), which is currently available to users in a beta version. Tesla’s FSD beta, while offering brief periods of hands-free driving on highways, is still meant to be monitored during use at all times, and drivers are expected to be ready to regain control of the car at any point. Additionally, Tesla’s FSD beta system also faces scrutiny from regulators.

Tesla delivering cars with FSD installed, no update required

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Cruise, GM halt production of Origin self-driving van amid safety concerns
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