11.14 2023 Update:
On November 13, the Cruise Board held its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting at Cruise headquarters in San Francisco. The Board took further steps to enhance safety and transparency as we work to build a better Cruise, including:
Craig Glidden to assume the role of Chief Administrative Officer for Cruise
As we posted in our blog last week, we have initiated workstreams in four key areas to identify potential improvements to how we operate. We are pleased that Craig Glidden, GM’s Executive Vice President of Legal and Policy and Cruise board member, will be expanding his support of Cruise and working closely with Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt and the Cruise Senior Leadership Team to oversee the workstreams around Transparency and Community Engagement. Cruise’s Legal & Policy, Communications, and Finance teams will report directly to Craig, and he will assume the title of Chief Administrative Officer for Cruise. He will continue in his current role at GM. Cruise will benefit from leveraging Craig and GM’s experience and best practices when it comes to transparency and engagement around safety.
Retention of an independent expert to conduct a comprehensive safety assessment
We announced last week that Cruise will hire a permanent Chief Safety Officer who will report directly to Kyle. In addition, the Cruise Board will retain a third-party safety expert in the coming weeks to perform a full assessment of Cruise’s safety operations and culture. These independent findings will help further guide and inform the work we have initiated.
Expansion of Exponent’s scope
Cruise previously hired the independent, third-party engineering consulting firm, Exponent, to conduct a technical root cause analysis of the October 2 incident. That work is ongoing, and the Board plans to expand Exponent’s remit to include a comprehensive review of our safety systems and technology.
Voluntary pause of supervised and manual operations
On October 26, we announced a pause of all our driverless operations while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and improve how we operate. In the coming days, we are also pausing our supervised and manual AV operations in the U.S., affecting roughly 70 vehicles. This orderly pause is a further step to rebuild public trust while we undergo a full safety review. We will continue to operate our vehicles in closed course training environments and maintain an active simulation program in order to stay focused on advancing AV technology.
Cruise is dedicated to rebuilding trust and operating at the highest standards of safety. We are committed to keeping our customers, regulators, and the public informed throughout this process.
We believe that over time autonomous vehicles can significantly reduce the number and severity of car collisions, including the more than 40,000 deaths on U.S. roads each year. This is what motivates our work. We also know we have a responsibility to operate at the highest standards of safety, transparency and accountability.
We recently announced a pause of all our driverless operations while we take time to examine our processes, systems, and tools and improve how we operate. During this time we plan to seek input from our government and agency partners and other key stakeholders to understand how we can be better partners.
Today we are sharing updates on some of the initial steps we have taken.
Issued a Voluntary Software Recall
As part of our larger efforts to assess, identify and remedy issues as we work with NHTSA and other regulators, we have issued a voluntary recall of part of our AV software based on a new analysis of our AV’s post-collision response on October 2. The recall addresses circumstances in which the Cruise collision detection subsystem may cause the Cruise AV to attempt to pull over out of traffic instead of remaining stationary when a pullover is not the desired post-collision response.
We issued the recall through a 573 NHTSA filing, which is the standard protocol for a company looking to notify consumers of hardware or software safety issues that require a remedy. We have also developed a software update that remedies the issue described and have deployed it to our supervised test fleet, which remains in operation. We’ll deploy the remedy to our driverless fleet prior to resuming those operations.
Although we determined that a similar collision with a risk of serious injury could have recurred every 10 million - 100 million miles of driving on average prior to the software update, we strive to continually improve and to make these events even rarer. As our software improves, it is likely we will file additional recalls to inform both NHTSA and the public of updates to enhance safety across our fleet.
Announced a Chief Safety Officer (CSO) Role
Cruise is conducting a search to hire a Chief Safety Officer who will report directly to the CEO. In the meantime, Dr. Louise Zhang, VP of Safety & Systems, will assume the role of Interim Chief Safety Officer and oversee our safety review & investigations.
Retained Third-Party Law Firm to Review October Incident
The Cruise Board retained law firm Quinn Emanuel to examine and better understand Cruise’s response to the October 2 incident, including Cruise’s interactions with law enforcement, regulators, and the media. This outside review will help us learn from this incident, strengthen our protocols, and improve our response to these types of incidents in the future.
Appointed Exponent to Conduct Technical Root Cause Analysis
In addition to our cooperation with investigations from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we have hired an independent, third-party engineering firm to perform a technical root cause analysis of the October 2 incident. We will incorporate their findings into our safety and engineering processes.
Initiated Additional Workstreams
We have identified four key areas of potential improvements to how we operate and have assigned leaders to investigate each one and complete follow up actions.
Safety Governance: We are taking a deep look at our overall safety approach and risk management structures to ensure we are built and positioned to enable continuous improvement.
Safety and Engineering Processes: We have advanced tools and processes in place and are committed to further upgrades wherever warranted. We are comprehensively reviewing all of our safety, testing, and validation processes and will add or modify processes where there is room to improve.
Internal & External Transparency: We understand that transparency is key to trust, especially in an emerging industry like ours. We are committed to improving how we communicate with the public, our customers, regulators, the media, and Cruise employees.
Community Engagement: We also understand the importance of collaborative partnerships. To realize the community benefits of autonomous driving, we need to do a better job engaging with our stakeholders and soliciting their feedback.
We are dedicated to building a better Cruise, and these initial actions are just some of the steps we’re taking as we listen, learn, and improve. We are committed to keeping our customers, regulators, and the public informed throughout this process.