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23 January 2020

Business

Autonomous Automobiles – An Origin Story

Amidst the era of the electric vehicle wars, one company has pulled ahead to claim the frontline position in the race to make self-driving vehicles a reality. In 2016 General Motors acquired self-driving tech start up company, Cruise. Now, using the resources of Cruise technology, GM has announced America’s first completely self-driving car – the fully electric-powered, Cruise Origin.

This car seats 6 and loses the traditional pedal and steering wheel ensemble to create a driverless vehicle sharing experience. Cruise says the vehicle is designed for shared ownership: "It's not a product you buy, it's an experience you share." The vehicle is outfitted with a hybrid sensor assembly that somehow combines cameras and radar to make the self-driving technology possible.

GM’s plan is to build a fleet of these autonomous automobiles, in hopes of rolling out a future ridesharing service that will rival Uber - minus the human driver aspect.

It wasn’t confirmed when these vehicles will be going into production, or what production volume might be, as currently driverless cars have yet to be approved for road use. It will require extensive testing and tweaking before these vehicles will be able to satisfy the government safety regulations necessary to make them road worthy.

For years, car makers have been scrambling to develop self-driving vehicles using the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technologies but have been held back by all the red tape. This has been mostly due to a growing number of fatalities linked to autonomous vehicle issues that have led to more government intervention.

Despite all the controversy and uncertainty surrounding the idea of making autonomous vehicles a reality, GM is on the right track. For now, the vehicle will be privately tested at multiple GM and Honda facilities in the US, to ensure optimum functionality and safety. Who knows… by this time next year we could be getting into a driverless vehicle that will, at the end of the day, be taking us for a spin.

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(Photo taken from: https://getcruise.com)