Cruise Automation is humming along as General Motors works to beat the industry to a proper commercial platform for self-driving cars.
The latest bit of Cruise propaganda to show off how smart its cars are becoming focuses on unprotected left-hand turns. The maneuver is characterized by any time a driver needs to make a left as oncoming traffic flows and pedestrians cross in the path of turning vehicles. The kind of turn is even more difficult in metropolitan areas, like San Francisco where Cruise continues to test its technology.
The video above shows how Cruise self-driving car prototypes handle the maneuver, and it does it quite well. The car pulls into the intersection, waits for a gap, seems to calculate its options, and then shoots across the intersection at a good speed. We think the turn is just a smidge delayed at times, but we’re not engineers working on the technology. The fact that these prototypes aren’t being t-boned seven days a week is an automatic victory for Cruise Automation.
“In an unpredictable driving environment like San Francisco, no two unprotected left-turns are alike,” Kyle Vogt, the company’s president and chief technology officer, said in a release. “By safely executing 1,400 [left turns] regularly, we generate enough data for our engineers to analyze and incorporate learnings into code they develop for other difficult maneuvers.”
GM Cruise has been one of the self-driving car industry’s darlings thus far. The company consistently locks horns with Google’s Waymo division as top dog in the budding autonomous vehicle segment. So far, Cruise’s doings have attracted plenty of attention. The company is now worth $19 billion and recently raised over $1 billion to continue developing its technology.