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GM cuts spending on Cruise self-driving cars

General Motors announced Wednesday that it’s cutting spending at its self-driving car unit, Cruise.

“We expect the pace of Cruise expansion to be more deliberate when operations resume and spending will be substantially lower in 2024 than it was in 2023,” GM chief executive Mary Barra said during an investor event.

GM had previously announced it intends to cut back Cruise’s operations once the company restarts testing and ride hailing services.

For now, Cruise has suspended its operations in the United States where it operates its driverless vehicles in various cities, mostly in southern states. Last month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles revoked Cruise’s permits to give rides to the public in that state. The company had been giving rides in San Francisco.

The suspension resulted from charges that Cruise had withheld information and video regarding an incident in which a pedestrian was struck after being thrown into the Cruise car’s path by another vehicle. The Cruise vehicle then pulled forward, dragging the person along pavement for 20 feet. Cruise denied that it had withheld any evidence or information.

Following the suspension, Cruise announced it was pausing its public operations throughout the US and, last week, Cruise chief executive Kyle Vogt resigned. The company’s chief product officer, Dan Kan, left the company shortly after, according to Reuters.

GM also earlier announced that it had stopped production of the Origin van, a purely driverless vehicle which has no driver’s seat, steering wheel or pedals. Those vehicles had been used for testing, but GM had planned one day to deploy them on public streets. Cruise had been using modified Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles which have controls for a human driver, although the cars are often sent on their own without a driver. (They are sometimes controlled remotely.)

GM announced last week that, whenever it resumed operations in the United States, it would be in only one city. Which city that will be, or when Cruise will re-start operations, has not been announced.

The reduction in spending relates to the broad reigning in of production and operations for Cruise. However, Barra reiterated GM’s commitment to autonomous vehicles.

“GM believes in the power of AVs to transform the future of mobility. We remain strongly committed to Cruise and are actively supporting the team as they refocus on trust, accountability and transparency,” she said.

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