GM's Cruise hardware chief resigns in latest exit after operations suspended

GM's Cruise hardware chief resigns in latest exit after operations suspended


Jenkins left in the aftermath of an accident involving a self-driving Cruise car

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The head of hardware at General Motors' Cruise self-driving unit, Carl Jenkins, said on Thursday he had resigned from the company, the latest in a series of departures since the company suspended US operations in October.

Jenkins, the senior vice president for autonomous vehicle platforms, is leaving after six years with the company, he said in a post on LinkedIn.

On Oct. 2, a pedestrian in San Francisco hit by another vehicle was thrown into the path of a self-driving Cruise car and dragged 20 feet (6 m).

In the aftermath, California suspended the company's permit for driverless vehicles, and Cruise pulled all its US self-driving vehicles from testing. The unit's then-CEO, Kyle Vogt, and co-founder Dan Kan resigned in November.

Jenkins' LinkedIn post said his team was responsible for developing Cruise's self-driving hardware, including microchips, sensors and computers and worked with GM on product development.

Cruise Co-President Mo Elshenawy, in an internal company post viewed by Reuters, confirmed the departure of Jenkins and said the autonomous vehicles platforms team was critical to Cruise's efforts to return its vehicles back to the road as soon as possible. Neither Jenkins nor Elshenawy gave a reason for the departure.

"I recognize that this came as unexpected news. While we're in a transitional period right now, all of us here at Cruise are getting to define what comes next - that's an incredibly exciting place to be," Elshenawy said in the internal message.

He said the autonomous vehicles platforms team was crucial for Cruise's future and "central to our 'Back to the Mission' work, to improving our detection systems, compute and sensor suites for current and future programs so we can return to the road as soon as possible."

A Cruise spokesperson confirmed Jenkins' departure.

"We remain committed to our hardware and systems development in the Bolt and Origin platforms," the spokesperson told Reuters, referring to Cruise's self-driving vehicles.