On Tuesday evening, Cruise exhibited an autonomous vehicle called Origin which is designed for a ride-sharing service and it is “production-ready.” The product is a result of a multi-year collaboration with parent company GM and investor Honda.
The vehicle has a ‘shuttle-like’ feel and it is branded with Cruise’s trademark orange and black colors. The vehicle has ‘deleted’ the steering wheel along with the pedals and is engineered to travel at highway speeds. The interior is pretty spacious with seats that face each other; it is like what a traveler might find on some trains. CTO and co-founder Kyle Vogt pointed out during the presentation that each seat is designed to cater to the requirements of individual passengers as it comes with personal USB ports, noted. Digital displays are also integrated above, supposedly to provide travelers information about their rides.
The doors do not hinge outward, Vogt added. Instead, he said, “they slide open, so bikers are safer.”
Keeping the splashy looks aside the Origin is designed to show Cruise’s muscle and resolute to roll out an autonomous ride-sharing service at scale. However, some important questions such as: what and when and how the launch will happen were left unanswered.
It is not a mere Concept!
CEO Dan Ammann pointed out that the vehicle should not be considered as a concept; instead, it is going to be a fully-fledged production vehicle that the company aims to use for a ride-sharing service.
However, the Origin is not expected to be on public roads anytime soon. The driverless vehicle failed to meet U.S. federal regulations known as FMVSS, which provides specifications about design, performance, construction, and durability needs for motor vehicles.
For now, the Origin will be employed on private and closed environments such as facilities owned by General Motors in Michigan or even Honda’s campus outside of the U.S, Ammann stated in an interview after the presentation.
Ammann also highlighted the low cost of the vehicle, and adding to it he noted the vehicle is designed to operate 1 million miles.
While being on stage Ammann said-
“We’ve been just as obsessed with making the Origin experience as inexpensive as possible” he added, “because if we’re really serious about improving life, and our cities, we need huge numbers of people to use the Cruise origin. And that won’t happen unless we deliver on a very simple proposition, a better experience at a lower price than what you pay to get around today.”
GM is going to manufacture the vehicle, although Ammann refused to offer more details on where except to say “you’ll find out in a couple of days.” He did point out that the vehicle will be manufactured, “for roughly half the cost of what a conventional electric SUV costs today.”
The unveiling provided more clues about hardware development of the Cruise, which has been rising in the past 18 months under the guidance and leadership of Carl Jenkins, vice president of hardware and Brendan Hermalyn, director of autonomous hardware systems.
The vehicle is integrated with what Vogt refers to as “owl,” a hybrid sensor assembly that seems to link camera and radar.
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