Cruise taps former Delta executive for COO post as it creeps towards commercialization – TechCrunch

Cruise, GM’s autonomous vehicle technology company, said it hired Gil West, the former chief operating officer of Delta Air Lines, on Friday as it shifts towards initial commercialization.

West, who retired from Delta last year, will become Cruise’s first chief operating officer. The announcement comes more than a month after Cruise began testing on public roads using autonomous vehicles without human safety operators behind the wheel. The test is still being conducted in a limited geographic area in San Francisco and less congested areas of the city, but it is still required to secure a milestone for the company and a permit to launch a shared, commercial Was seen as a necessary step for. Service that may charge for the ride.

Comes with more than 12 years of experience at West Cruise, which had an annual $ 16 billion budget to run a huge global operation. During his tenure, he helped Delta earn more than 15% per share earnings per year and led the company to merge with Northwest Airlines.

Cruise CEO Dan Amman, who was Chairman GM As of 2018, West’s track record of customer experience, large-scale operational performance and safety stated that he is “an ideal fit for a cruise as we embark on a journey to commercialize our self-driving technology.”

Cruise was once targeted Starting a commercial service using so-called “driverless” vehicles by the end of 2019, But that deadline was supported – a decision that came after several other autonomous vehicle companies delayed their plans to launch ride-hailing services that use autonomous vehicles. Cruise has not yet publicly provided a new date to begin commercial service, the first of which will be in San Francisco.

Krause, whom SoftBank Vision Fund and T. Also supported by Rowe Price & Associates, it has hundreds of autonomous vehicles in its fleet, although still a human safety operator behind the wheel. In November, Cruise began driverless testing – naming means the human safety operator has been removed from the driver’s seat – with a fleet of five autonomous vehicles. The rest of Cruise’s fleet is being used for its routine testing with a human safety driver, some of which is used to deliver goods to the region’s food banks.

The California DMV, the agency that regulates autonomous vehicle testing in the state, issued a permit to Cruise in October that would allow the company to test five autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the wheel on designated roads within San Francisco is. Cruise has since 2015 been allowed to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers behind the wheel.

In February, Cruz received a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission to carry passengers in his autonomous vehicles in the state. CPUC revised its rules Late last year to allow companies the ability to charge for shared driverless rides.

Cruise would have to show data that he had tested the driverless ride 30-day duration According to information, it may qualify for CPU permit On the CPUC website.

The 30-day time period ends as West’s hiring. The executive will be responsible for all of Cruise’s commercial operations, an enterprise that includes managing a fleet of hundreds of vehicles and customer service.

“Cruise is a leader in changing lives and ending the status quo of transportation,” West said in a statement. He said, ‘In my lifetime there will be no major change in the transport industry due to self-paced movement. I have been training my entire career for such an opportunity. “