Self-Driving Rideshare Cars From Cruise Are Coming to California
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Of all the technological leaps in automotive technology right now, self-driving cars are some of the most intriguing. Driving will likely never go out of style, but self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles (AVs), can lead to major improvements in car safety.
One idea that has received a lot of attention is self-driving rideshare cars.
The Drive reported that a startup has been approved for a pilot program to test driverless rideshare vehicles. Cruise will be hitting the streets with their self-driving Origin vehicle. Cruise’s self-driving cars will start giving rides in California.
What is Cruise?
Cruise was first launched in 2013. General Motors purchased the company three years later, and since then, Cruise has seen an unprecedented flow of investments. They’re currently valued at $30 billion, as investors look to self-driving cars as the transportation of the future.
Cruise isn’t the only company that’s developing AVs, but they uniquely focus on rideshare vehicles. Having a fleet of self-driving cars to respond to ride requests could revolutionize how we get around. The key to Cruise’s success is their signature vehicle, the Origin.
First shown in January 2020, the Origin looks different than any other vehicle on the road. Its shape is somewhere in between a car and a bus. Because it’s meant to be fully self-driving, it doesn’t have a steering wheel.
The Cruise pilot program
With the technology ready for the road, the California Public Utilities Commission approved Cruise for a testing program. This is the first self-driving vehicle test to happen in California. Previously, Cruise was approved to test AVs in San Francisco as long as a backup human driver was also in the vehicle.
Now, Cruise can remove backup drivers from the Origin and pick up riders. If you’re around the city, you’ll soon be able to experience the new technology firsthand. It’s not clear whether you’ll have to pay to get a ride during the test program.
Representatives from the California Public Utilities Commission are optimistic about what Cruise means for the future of transportation. These vehicles could be much more environmentally friendly than traditional cars. As the service expands, this could lead to more jobs in engineering and manufacturing.
Other self-driving vehicles are making strides
With financial backing from major investors, Cruise has the potential to stake an early claim in the autonomous vehicle market. They aren’t the only company investing in AVs, though.
One major name in self-driving cars is Waymo, owned by Google. Waymo has been operating a fleet of AVs in Phoenix, Arizona, and uses their vehicles as taxis. As a subsidiary of Google with $3 billion in outside investments, Waymo is also making a splash in the market.
Automotive industry veterans are also researching self-driving vehicles. Toyota, for example, has shown plans for the futuristic autonomous Concept-i. Porsche is also making investments in autonomous driving.
Self-driving cars could provide a safe and efficient alternative to traditional driving, and the technology is already ready to be implemented. With their test program in California, Cruise is taking the first steps to make self-driving rideshare vehicles a normal sight on the road.
Autonomous vehicles represent just how much car technology is changing. Despite all these changes, though, insurance is just as important as ever.
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