General Motors owned autonomous vehicle (AV) company, Cruise, has appointed Steve Kenner as its new chief safety officer. 

Kenner began his career at General Motors as an engineer and has previously worked as a safety director at Ford. Kenner also has previously worked with AVs, having served as a vice president of safety at Kodiak, an autonomous truck company. 

“Safety requires that every team within a company work together to put passengers and other road users first,” stated Kenner, explaining that he intended to work in collaboration with regulators to create a safe legal environment for AVs. 

“At the end of the day we have the same goal as regulators: to make our roadways safer and establish public confidence in the AV industry. I have worked on safety critical technologies throughout my career, I believe in the safety potential of autonomous vehicles, and I want to safely and responsibly realise that potential,” added Kenner.

Cruise first announced it would be hiring a chief safety officer in November 2023 following several road traffic incidents and collisions involving its San Francisco robotaxi fleet. 

This week further pressure was placed on California regulators to address AV safety following a rally of legislators and trade unions on 12 February that called for cities to have more power over AV permits. 

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By GlobalData

Safety will continue to be a sticking point for AV companies if they wish to gain consumer trust. 

“The frothy early days of autonomous vehicle development have ended, and early optimism has given way to a more cautious tone,” according to research company GlobalData in its thematic report into autonomous vehicles.

“Autonomous vehicles have proven far harder to develop than any company had expected, tempering some of the more outlandish ideas within the sector,” noted the report.  

In his role at Cruise, Kenner will be directly reporting to its president and chief administrative officer Craig Glidden. 

“As we look forward to Cruise’s next chapter, we know we must continually improve our overall safety performance and work to build trust with regulators, other government officials and our communities,” stated Glidden.