Autonomous driving is a hot topic in the automobile world right now, and while Tesla is the only company with the technology deployed to consumers, even in just a beta form, a number of other companies are working towards debuting their own self-driving technologies in the near future.
General Motors’ (GM) autonomous driving subsidiary, Cruise, has begun testing its driverless vehicles in San Francisco as of Wednesday, according to CNBC. The company is planning a “very methodical and responsible” ramp-up of its testing throughout San Francisco, as stated by Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.
Ammann told reporters, “What this represents for Cruise and, I think, the self-driving industry more generally is you’re seeing fully driverless technology out of the R&D phase and into the beginning of the journey to being a real commercial product.” He continued, “I think that’s incredibly exciting and a significant milestone on the overall journey.”
What does it take to go driverless in San Francisco?
Our path to driverless is 5 years and 2 million miles in the making. See how much ground we’ve covered already. pic.twitter.com/zk76a1vPMR
— cruise (@Cruise) December 8, 2020
For now, Cruise says its vehicles will be completely driverless, though they’ll also include a safety operator in the passenger seat until testing is completed.
Cruise spokesman Ray Wert said, “The safety operator has the ability to bring the vehicle to a stop in the event of an emergency, but does not have access to standard driver controls.” Wert continued, “Eventually, this safety operator will be fully removed.”
While it’s unclear when Cruise’s service will launch, the beginning of testing is a step in the right direction. The company has received investments from GM, as well as companies like Honda and Softbank.
In any case, discussion of driverless technology has been around for far longer than the technology itself, and it’s exciting to see companies like Cruise, Tesla, Honda, and others actually begin testing these new technologies.
Contributing Writer at TeslaNorth.com from California’s southeast Bay Area. Covers electric vehicles, space exploration, and all things tech. Loves a good cup of coffee, live music and puppies. Buying a Tesla? Click here to get 1,000 free Supercharging miles.