Cruise debuts its self-driving vehicle
Cruise, founded in San Francisco in 2013, announced the Cruise Origin, an autonomous, all-electric shared vehicle. With the removal of the engine and the driver, other equipment was no longer required, such as the steering wheel, pedals, rearview mirrors, and windshield wipers. The company strives to create a spacious, safe, and consistent experience. Through partnerships with GM and Honda, Cruise says it is the only self-driving car company with fully integrated manufacturing at scale.
The Cruise Origin may look big, but it's actually no bigger than an average car. Inside, all seats face each other so riders can have a conversation with family or friends. Also, the entry is low to the ground, and three times larger than that of an average car—wide enough to make room for one person to step in while another person steps out. In addition, the doors don’t hinge outward, rather they slide open, to make it safer for surrounding bikers.
Cruise plans to own the entire experience for users of its services, including its Origin app as well as customer service. Because of this, the company says each rider will get a consistent experience each time they open the app and enter the vehicle.
The Cruise Origin is powered by an all-electric platform built by General Motors. Because there's no human driver to serve as a backup, redundancies for sensing, computing, networking, and power were all built into the system. Its multi-layered sensor suite is designed to keep track of multiple people and objects—even if they’re far away, in pitch-black, or hidden by rain or fog.
In addition to these features, the Origin uses a modular design. This was done so that when a better sensor or computer is launched, the company won't have to roll out a new fleet of vehicles. Due to this, Cruise says it will save money and reduce waste. In turn, Cruise says it will pass on the savings to its customers.
Currently, Cruise is running fleets of its third-generation vehicles on the roads of San Francisco, operating a rideshare service for Cruise employees.The company says it accumulated nearly a million miles last year as the vehicles autonomously drove nearly every road in San Francisco. From the driving, Origin was able to gather data on how people drive, how to maneuver in unusual circumstances, and how to react to situations that seem impossible to predict. Cruise says it has sought out as much entropy and chaos as it could find, and it has created 3D simulations of great teaching material so that the company can make each software release better than the last.
According to Cruise, today’s cars sit parked 95% of the time, racking up expensive parking fees while depreciating in value. The Cruise Origin, on the other hand, is intended to spend most of its life in motion, working 10 times harder than the average car, day in and day out. Because it’s modular, it will have a reported lifespan of more than 1 million miles—six times more than the average car. And since GM has committed to producing millions of electric vehicles, Cruise says it will build it for roughly half the cost of what a conventional electric SUV costs today.
For more information, visit www.getcruise.com.