General Motors is suspending production of the Origin self-driving shuttles for its autonomous driving technology unit Cruise after California ordered Cruise to stop its operations last month following a pedestrian crash in downtown San Francisco. Forbes reported the news first, citing comments by Cruise CEO, CTO and co-founder Kyle Vogt during a company all-hands meeting.
Vogt told Cruise employees that it had already produced hundreds of Origin vehicles with GM, which he said was “more than enough for the near-term when we are ready to ramp things back up,” according to Forbes.
In an emailed statement, GM said it’s “finishing production on a small number of pre-commercial vehicles and after that, plan to temporarily pause production.”
In June 2021, Cruise was the first company granted a permit from California’s Public Utilities Commission to provide passenger test rides in its self-driving vehicles without a safety driver behind the wheel.
But Cruise’s fleet of robotaxis was grounded while state regulators evaluated their safety after one of the vehicles struck a pedestrian near an intersection in downtown San Francisco in early October.
In a statement released on Oct. 24, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said Cruise vehicles “are not safe for the public’s operation” and that the company “misrepresented any information related to safety of the autonomous technology of its vehicles.”
Since the incident last month, Cruise has voluntarily suspended its U.S. testing operations as the company evaluates the safety of its autonomous vehicles.
Cruise was one of only four companies, including Waymo, Mercedes-Benz and Nuro, granted a permit from California’s DMV to deploy AVs on public roads in the state.
For the past several years, Cruise has been testing its self-driving vehicles on public roads in San Francisco, aiming to launch an autonomous ride-hailing service using a fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs. Cruise was planning to add the multi-passenger Origin shuttles to its fleet soon.
In February, the Detroit News reported GM planned to deploy 5,000 Origin shuttles nationwide as part of Cruise’s plans to expand its ride-hailing service to other cities.
Cruise was founded in 2013 and has worked on autonomous driving technology for at least seven years. In 2016, GM invested roughly $1 billion in the company when it was still a relatively unknown startup. The automaker’s investment aimed, in part, to jumpstart its own work on self-driving technology. In March 2022, GM acquired SoftBank’s $2.1 billion stake in Cruise.