General Motors’ autonomous vehicle technology division, Cruise, has announced that it is now conducting fully driverless rides during the daytime.
Previously, Cruise was restricting its driverless rides to the nighttime. By contrast, these new daytime rides will serve as a more challenging test for Cruise’s autonomous technology, given the higher traffic density and other factors present during the day.
Cruise announced the new daytime autonomous rides with a brief video posted to social media. The video features Cruise Senior Business Systems Analyst Tatiana Feijoo and Cruise Staff System Test Engineer Alexis Tuason, who served as the first passengers to take a fully autonomous daytime ride with Cruise’s test fleet.
“This is heavy traffic here right now and we’re doing it,” Feijoo says as the Chevy Bolt EV test vehicle gets underway.
“See, this is the kind of traffic that would make me really frustrated if I was driving,” Tuason says.
Today @Cruise launched *daytime* driverless rides. Service is live for Cruisers and will launch to the public soon.
First ride was this morning around 8:30 am: pic.twitter.com/tRpFLt9DWM
— Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) November 16, 2022
For now, Cruise’s fully autonomous daytime service area is considerably restricted compared to its fully autonomous nighttime service area. However, according to Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, the daytime service area will eventually merge with the nighttime service area.
Earlier this summer, Cruise announced that it would start charging customers for rides in its fleet of fully autonomous Chevy Bolt EV test vehicles in San Francisco. Members of the public can use a smartphone app to order rides in the driverless vehicles, similar to rideshare apps like Uber or Lyft. Cruise is restricting the number of users that can sign up for its ride-hailing service to prevent the system from being flooded, which would negatively affect the company’s logistics.
“No major city has had driverless cars running around in it, so there’s a lot of acclimation that communities have to do, law enforcement, we want to make sure everyone’s ready for this,” Cruise CEO Vogt said this summer. “So we started small with a limited area, and very quickly you’re going to see us expand to the point where we’re covering all of San Francisco.”
Cruise aims to eventually launch a fleet of fully driverless vehicles via the Cruise Origin robotaxi.