General Motors self-driving unit, Cruise has introduced a prototype electric vehicle lacking steering wheels or pedals for use in the proposed autonomous ride-sharing service. The car, called “Cruise Origin,” designed with Honda Motor Co Ltd, which in 2018 acquired a minority stake in Cruise in an attempt to catch up with rivals in developing a technology with massive costs and uncertainty and no products ready for market.
In May, Cruise was valued at $19bn. In July, proposals to launch a commercial Robo-taxi service were delayed until the end of 2019. Permits to test self-driving cars are difficult to obtain from California regulators. Alphabet Inc’sWaymo is the sole company that has been allowed to test without a driver.
Although car manufacturers around the world are eager to develop self-driving vehicles, the technology has yet to gain traction since recent incidents involving these cars have raised doubts.
Dan Ammann, CEO of Cruise said the vehicle about the size of an average SUV with sliding doors on either side would be used for the company’s ride-hailing service. Cruise has already begun to offer ride service for its staff in San Francisco that have self-driving cars with safety drivers behind the wheel.
Although Ammann said that the Cruise Origin was “a fully engineered vehicle on its way to manufacturing,” he said that he was still talking to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for permission to authorize vehicles to be deployed on the roads without human control.