Archive for the ‘Cruise’ Category

Cruise will soon hit San Francisco with no hands on the wheel

October 17th, 2020
Cruise has been testing its self-driving cars, with safety drivers, in San Francisco for about five years.

Enlarge / Cruise has been testing its self-driving cars, with safety drivers, in San Francisco for about five years. (credit: Andrej Sokolow | Getty Images)

Last week, Waymo, the self-driving-vehicle developer owned by Alphabet, expanded a first-of-its-kind service offering rides to paying passengers around Phoenix—with no one behind the wheel. Videos shared by Waymo and others show its minivans navigating wide, sunny streets with ease.

Now rival Cruise, a General Motors subsidiary, has taken a step toward running its own self-driving-taxi service—on the hilly, winding, pedestrian-swarmed streets of San Francisco. On Thursday, Cruise said the California Department of Motor Vehicles had granted it a permit to test up to five of its modified Chevy Bolts without anyone behind the wheel. In a blog post, Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said truly driverless cars would operate in the city before the end of the year.

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Posted in cars, Cruise, GM, self driving cars | Comments (0)

Slow progress on self-driving is putting startups in a bind

July 21st, 2020
Aurora said Monday that it would focus on testing self-driving trucks in the Dallas area.

Enlarge / Aurora said Monday that it would focus on testing self-driving trucks in the Dallas area. (credit: Aurora)

Progress on self-driving technology has been slower than many people expected just a few years ago. Google's Waymo was aiming to launch a fully driverless taxi service by the end of 2018 but missed its deadline. GM's Cruise abandoned plans to launch a commercial service in 2019. Tesla has repeatedly fallen short of Elon Musk's optimistic timelines for delivering fully self-driving technology.

This isn't a crisis for these companies. They have plenty of cash and can keep working on the problem as long as they need to. But it is a big challenge for some of their competitors: independent self-driving startups that rely on venture capital to stay afloat. As the timeline for self-driving technology has stretched out, fundraising has gotten more difficult.

"Given the amount of resources required to develop an autonomous vehicle, it never made sense to have dozens of companies doing the same thing," said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights. "There was always going to be a shake-out."

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Posted in Argo, aurora, cars, Cruise, May Mobility, Nuro, Voyage, waymo | Comments (0)

Cruise’s autonomous Origin hints at a “McDonald’s of mobility”

January 29th, 2020

Like a lot of autonomous vehicle (AV) developers, Cruise has been having a tough time recently. Slammed by brutal reporting on its technological struggles, the GM-, Honda-, and Softbank-backed firm recently abandoned plans for an ambitious 2019 commercial deployment of its autonomous mobility service. Adding insult to injury, its request for safety-regulation waivers allowing it to deploy a version of its fourth-generation Chevrolet Bolt without human controls has languished at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So when Cruise unveiled its Origin robotaxi at a flashy San Francisco event last week, it was in effect a reboot of the company's plans under new CEO Dan Ammann, who came over from GM at the end of 2018. Unfortunately, after weeks of hyping a vision of mobility "beyond the car," Cruise shared almost no details about the Origin, including such basic information as its size, battery capacity, sensor suite, or deployment plans. Though it's hard to fault Cruise for erring on the side of caution, the resulting confusion and snark about Origin only highlighted how hard it has become to communicate about the autonomous vehicle space.

But even as Cruise seemed to flub its latest big communication effort, it actually provided the answer to a critical question that other AV companies have yet to address: how its robotaxi service is going to compete in an increasingly crowded mobility market. Though largely lost in the soaring, aspirational "beyond the car" messaging, both Ammann's comments and the Origin's design subtly illustrated a surprisingly grounded vision for a business that is all too often imagined as sci-fi fantasy. Put simply, it seems that the Origin will be the foundation of a business positioned to become the McDonald's of mobility.

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Posted in autonomous vehicle, cars, Cruise, ride-hailing | Comments (0)

GM’s Cruise scraps 2019 launch plans but expands San Francisco testing

July 24th, 2019
In January 2018, Cruise said that it would begin producing cars like this before the end of 2019 for use in a commercial taxi service.

Enlarge / In January 2018, Cruise said that it would begin producing cars like this before the end of 2019 for use in a commercial taxi service. (credit: Cruise)

In late 2017, Cruise, the self-driving startup that is majority owned by General Motors, announced that it planned to launch a driverless commercial taxi service by the end of 2019. The company stuck to this 2019 launch date even after Google's Waymo missed its own self-imposed goal to launch a fully driverless service by the end of 2018.

But in a post this morning, Cruise CEO Dan Ammann now admits that Cruise won't launch a commercial driverless service in 2019 after all. Instead, he says, Cruise will further expand its testing infrastructure in San Francisco, preparing the company for a large-scale launch at some unspecified date in the future.

"Our first deployment needs to be done right and we will only deploy when we can demonstrate that we will have a net positive impact on safety on our roads," Ammann writes.

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Ford, GM, and Toyota team up to develop self-driving safety standards

April 3rd, 2019
GM workers assembling a test car for Cruise.

Enlarge / GM workers assembling a test car for Cruise. (credit: Cruise)

Three of the world's leading automakers are joining forces to develop safety standards for self-driving cars. The new consortium will be called the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), and it will be affiliated with the prominent auto engineering group SAE International.

The founding members are Ford, GM, and Toyota. All three companies have invested heavily in self-driving technology, making self-driving safety much more than just a theoretical concern for them.

GM is the parent company of Cruise, a self-driving taxi startup that is currently testing dozens of autonomous vehicles in San Francisco. Ford has a similar effort called Argo that's testing in Miami and working to expand to Washington DC.

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Posted in Argo, AVSC, cars, Cruise, Ford, GM, Mobileye, SAE, self-driving, Toyota | Comments (0)

Why GM is laying off more workers amid healthy profits

February 5th, 2019
GM CEO Mary Barra.

Enlarge / GM CEO Mary Barra. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

GM is laying off another 4,000 workers, the company acknowledged on Monday. The cuts are on top of thousands of job cuts the company announced last November.

Those earlier cuts were concentrated on the factory floor, with GM shuttering five manufacturing plants in the United States and Canada. The new cuts, by contrast, are to salaried white-collar jobs. Individual workers will be notified over the next two weeks, the company said.

GM has reported billions of dollars of profits over the last three quarters. But CEO Mary Barra argues that GM still needs to cut its costs to prepare for the dramatic changes facing the automotive industry in the coming years.

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