G.M.’s Cruise Moved Fast in the Driverless Race. It Got Ugly.

Two months ago, Kyle Vogt, the chief executive of Cruise, choked up as he recounted how a driver had killed a 4-year-old girl in a stroller at a San Francisco intersection. “It barely made the news,” he said, pausing to collect himself. “Sorry. I get emotional.”

To make streets safer, he said in an interview, cities should embrace self-driving cars like those designed by Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors. They do not get distracted, drowsy or drunk, he said, and being programmed to put safety first meant they could substantially reduce car-related fatalities.

Now Mr. Vogt’s driverless car company faces its own safety concerns as he contends with angry regulators, anxious employees, and skepticism about his management and the viability of a business that he has often said will save lives while generating billions of dollars.

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