Former Cruise CEO Launches Robotics Firm With ex-Tesla AI Manager

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The former CEO and co-founder of General Motors (GM) self-driving unit Cruise has launched a new robotics firm, after stepping down from Cruise following an accident in October.

Kyle Vogt, the former Cruise CEO and co-founder who resigned in November, announced The Bot Company in a post on LinkedIn on Monday. Vogt started the robotics company with Luke Holoubek, a former Technical Advisor for Cruise, and Paril Jain, who was previously a Tech Lead and Manager in artificial intelligence (AI) at Tesla and was with the company for seven years.

“I’m back to building! Excited to share I’ve started a company with Paril Jain and Luke Holoubek. We’re building bots that do chores so you don’t have to” Vogt wrote in the post. “Everyone is busy. Bots can help.

“So many things compete for our time – commutes, longer working hours, and the complexities of modern life. Our team has spent years building robots (including the self-driving kind) that give people some of that time back, and we’re taking that a step further with this company.”

Along with the announcement, Vogt says the company has raised $150 million from investors and entrepreneurs, adding that more details about the company would be announced soon.

Jain also announced his departure from Tesla in a repost of Vogt’s original announcement, saying that he was “super pumped for the next phase of building.”

“As for Tesla – it has been an incredible 7 years building the best self-driving product on the market,” Jain wrote. “You’ll love the upcoming versions of V12 and Actually Smart Summon. The team is on an amazing trajectory to continue pushing forward more improvements on the road to being driverless.”

The new company has started a website, on which it states the following mission:

“We’re building robots that give you time back. Everyone is busy. Bots can help.”

Vogt helped found Cruise in 2013, and the company was later acquired by GM in 2016. The company had been operating driverless ride-sharing vehicles in San Francisco, California, last year until one of its self-driving vehicles ran over and pinned a pedestrian in October.

Immediately following the accident, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspended Cruise’s license to operate self-driving vehicles. In November, Vogt and another co-founder resigned, and the company later went on to announce it was cutting 24 percent of staffwhile several other leaders were terminated.

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