Back in January of 2020, General Motors pulled the sheets on Cruise Origin, the automaker’s very first fully autonomous vehicle. Now, the first batch of pre-production vehicles are being built.
According to Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, nearly a hundred pre-production Cruise Origin AVs will be built at GM’s Pre-Production Operations center, with the vehicles set to be used as part of an “intensive testing and validation process this summer.” Looking ahead, tens of thousands of units will be produced at the GM Factory Zero plant (formerly known as Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly) in Michigan, with the four-million-square-foot facility currently undergoing upgrades to build the autonomous Cruise Origin. Full series production is expected in 2022 or 2023.
“Personally, the citizen in me is extremely optimistic about the positive impact we’re going to make on the world,” Ammann writes. “The kid in me just thinks the Origins are insanely cool. And the business geek in me gets to marvel at cutting edge technology meeting major manufacturing scale, brought together by an amazing team, powerful partners and extensive resources.”
Cruise recently received a $5 billion line of credit from GM Financial, the automaker’s financial services arm, to expand the company’s fleet and scale up over the next several years. The fresh cash infusion brings the Cruise war chest up to a healthy $10 billion.
“$10 billion. It’s a big number,” Ammann writes. “However, when you think about what we’re building — safer, cleaner, and more accessible transportation for the world — you quickly realize it’s also a necessary number.”
The California Public Utilities Commission also recently approved an application that allows Cruise to begin offering rides, launching the first pilot program to provide fully autonomous passenger services to the public.
Cruise Origin is approximately the same size as a traditional crossover, with two opposing bench seats inside the passenger space, and an all-electric powertrain for motivation.