Yesterday’s Autoline Daily closed with a segment on Cruise Automation, General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary. Cruise Automation published a video to YouTube late last month that shows the vehicle navigating tricky San Francisco Streets. The video is impressive, showing the Cruise Automation vehicle navigating some treacherous driving scenarios with expert precision.
The three-and-a-half minute video is packed with instances where the vehicle crosses the double-yellow line on several occasions to get around traffic. The video also shows the vehicle switching lanes in the middle of an intersection due to construction and shows the vehicle stopping to let a bicyclist weave around it.
From the outside, it’d be difficult to realize this video is from a self-driving vehicle. The ability for the car to react to unconventional driving scenarios—like facing a delivery truck parked against traffic near an intersection—is almost like how a human would respond. Granted, the increased video speed—2.5 times the normal speed—makes any computational hesitations appear negligible.
It’s a sign of strong improvement from Cruise Automation, which had its fair share of growing pains leading up to this point.
This new video boasts well for the subsidiary’s plan to launch its ride-sharing program. Back in November, General Motors and Cruise Automation said the ride-sharing program would start in 2019, which, at the time, sounded ambitious, as competitors like Ford set a 2021 target date for its ride-sharing service. However, the video above makes it appear Cruise’s program could soon be ready with San Francisco as the participating city.
All this development and advancement in Cruise’s self-driving technology came during a year when the subsidiary came under its $1 billion budget. The company still spent an enormous amount of cash—$728 million. GM did budget another $1 billion for the company in 2019, which will see the company open a Seattle office later this year. Other recent changes at Cruise include founder and CEO Kyle Vogt taking on the role as chief technology officer as former GM President Dan Ammann taking on the role of CEO.