Cruise co-founder Daniel Kan has left the struggling self-driving 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 two men started 10 years ago.
The significant shake-up follows a series of safety-related 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 occurred in San Francisco in October when a cruiser pulled over a woman shortly after she was hit by a vehicle driven by a human. He then dragged her along the road as he attempted to park on the side of the street.
The incident prompted California regulators to revoke Cruise’s operating license. Shortly after, 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 staff 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.
Kan has yet to publicly comment on his decision to leave Cruise. Vogt, on the other hand, posted a message on social media on Sunday, but 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 is excited to see what Cruise comes up with next.
“The last 10 years have been incredible,” Vogt wrote in his post. “I’m grateful to everyone who helped Cruise along the way. The startup I launched in my garage has delivered over 250,000 driverless rides across multiple cities, with each ride inspiring people with a small taste of the future.
He added that Cruise “is just getting started and I think she has a great future ahead of her.” The people at Cruise are bright, motivated and resilient. They are executing on a strong, multi-year roadmap and an exciting product vision.
Trying to remain optimistic, he finished: “To my former colleagues at Cruise and GM: you got this!” Whatever your reason for working on AV, remember why this work is important. The status quo on our roads sucks, but together we have proven that there is something much better to come.
Cruise has not yet announced the replacement of the CEO and product chief, although The New York Times reported that GM added two new members to Cruise’s board of directors and that Mo Elshenawy, executive vice president of the Cruise’s engineering team, would become president of the company.
In early November, after suspending operations nationwide, Cruise said, “The most important thing for us right now is to take steps to restore public trust,” adding, “Part of that involves take a hard look at ourselves and the way we work. at Cruise, even if it means doing uncomfortable or difficult things.