Cruise recently introduced an all-electric autonomous shuttlethat is meant to be a step toward a new kind of transportation system that is safer and more affordable.
Cruise Origin completely takes the driver out of the equation. It has no engine, steering wheel, pedal, rearview mirrors or windshield wipers, according to a blog post on the company website written by Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. This means the shuttle can offer extra space (no more cramped seats), making traveling more comfortable. It also has doors that slide open andlarge, low to the ground entry so it’s easy for passengers to enter and exit the vehicle at the same time. The more roomy seats face each other so family and friends can interact as they travel.
“At Cruise, with our deep partnerships with GM and Honda, we have roots in the automotive industry. But we didn’t just want to improve on the car. We wanted to reimagine transportation as if the car had never existed,” Ammann wrote in the blog post. “…What we came up with isn’t a car that you buy. It’s an experience that you share.”
The modular vehicle runs on an all-electric platform built by General Motors, according to the post. The multi-layered sensor suite sees broader wavelength spectrums than humans can and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to process decisions faster than humans. Origin has the ability to see at night and when there’s rain and fog. It also can keep track of people and objects that are far away.
The modular vehicle will spend most of its time in motion rather than parked, driving more than 1 million miles over its lifetime. The company also should be able to build it for half the price of a conventional electric SUV, providing a more efficient, comfortable traveling experience that also saves consumers money.
Cruise is currently operating fleets of these vehicles in San Francisco as a rideshare service for the company’s employees, which means driving in complex urban environments.
“We seek out as much entropy and chaos as we can find, and our human supervisors provide feedback on how the vehicle is driving,” Ammann wrote in the blog post. “We even create 3D simulations of great teaching material, so that we can make every software release better than the last — creating smarter, smoother, safer rides.”
To learn more about Cruise Origin, visit https://www.getcruise.com/origin/