So far, General Motors has been relatively tightlipped when it comes to the new GM Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle, electing to share just some of the basics of the new robo taxi service in a debut last year. However, GM CEO Mary Barra has now provided a few more details, including the news that the self-driving vehicle was designed to handle snow, and that it will be geo-fenced.
Barra provided the details during a virtual fireside chat with media earlier this week.
The revelation that the GM Cruise Origin AV is designed to handle snow shows that the development team has considered a variety of possible locations for where the service will be deployed. While Cruise Origin has been tested extensively in San Francisco, a city where it obviously doesn’t snow, having the capability to handle colder, low-traction environments means that vehicle can also operate in cities like New York and Washington, D.C.
As for the geo-fenced feature Barra mentioned, this basically means that the robotic taxi service will be limited in terms of where it can operate for a given area. For those that may not know, geo-fencing essentially means setting a virtual limit around a specific physical location. So for example, the GM Cruise Origin AV could be limited to specific areas of a city in terms of where it can drop off and pick up passengers, with specific fleets designated by specific geo-fenced areas.
Further details on the GM Cruise Origin AV were provided in January during the vehicle’s debut. We know that it will be roughly the same size as a crossover utility vehicle, with enough space to fit six passengers. It’ll utilize an all-electric powertrain and will be based on the GM BEV3 architecture, with production taking place at the GM Detroit-Hamtramck facility, where Barra has indicated that retooling efforts are currently on track.
The automaker also says that the GM Cruise Origin AV will have self-driving software that will best an average human driver in terms of performance and safety, and that it’s engineered to last a million miles. The GM Cruise Origin AV was originally slated to launch last year, but the rollout was subsequently delayed without any clear indication of when it may finally hit full production status.