US automotive giant General Motors (GM) has made it harder for its troubled driverless robotaxi division, Cruise, to return from the doldrums, announcing a US$1 billion (A$1.52 billion) cut to its budget.

    GM made the announcement as part of its Q4 2023 earnings call, shortly after an independent report commissioned by Cruise had revealed how the company had mishandled dealings with road safety regulators following a high-profile pedestrian collision.

    On October 2, 2023, a Cruise vehicle in San Francisco ran over an already-struck pedestrian, with its systems later found to have identified the impact as a side-on collision – triggering the robotaxi to execute a pullover manoeuvre with the woman still underneath it.

    While the woman is still recovering from the incident, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles launched a probe into Cruise, which soon found the robotaxi operator hadn’t disclosed that its vehicle executed the pullover manoeuvre – instead telling regulators it had completed an emergency stop.

    Cruise’s permit to operate its driverless vehicles was later revoked by California’s DMV in early November 2023, which was followed by the company suspending all operations a handful of weeks later.

    According to the publication, GM CEO Mary Barra has said it will “refocus and relaunch Cruise”, despite the robotaxi firm losing more than US$8 billion (A$12.16 billion) since the auto giant took ownership in 2016.

    Ms Barra previously claimed Cruise could generate up to US$50 billion (A$76 billion) annually by 2030.

    In the wake of the October incident, at least nine Cruise executives have been fired, while co-founders Dan Kan and Kyle Vogt resigned.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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