GM’s robotaxi subsidiary Cruise reports its autonomous vehicles (AVs) have racked up over a million driverless miles in a statement released on February 22nd, 2023.
Reaching the milestone took approximately 15 months since Cruise initially rolled out its AVs for testing on the streets of San Francisco, California in November 2021, the company adds.
Cruise details the obstacles its intrepid robotaxis have negotiated since first appearing on public streets. The modified, driverless Chevy Bolt EVs with their distinctive red and white livery have handled the traffic jams and pedestrians of Frisco’s densely crowded urban areas, construction zones, “atmospheric rivers,” “Karl the Fog,” and other difficulties while collecting huge volumes of useful data, the press release states.
The statement also notes Cruise has launched fourteen significant software releases to improve the performance of its AVs since the project began. The most recent 100,000 miles were achieved seven times faster than the first 100,000 thanks to more operational vehicles.
The use of driverless Chevy Bolt EVs is meant to test technology, paving the way for the advent of the Cruise Origin, a robotaxi vehicle built as an AV from the ground up. Actual production and deployment of the Origin are on hold, however, as Cruise awaits NHTSA approval for a vehicle with no steering wheel or other human-usable controls.
In the meantime, Cruise is testing the Cruise Origin as a human-driven variant. This version of the Origin was first spotted in testing at the GM Proving Grounds by GM Authority spies back in July 2022. Since then, the company began testing of the human-driven Origin in San Francisco late in 2022, though only for collecting data rather than providing taxi rides.
In the latest move toward further development of its AV network, Cruise deployed human-operated Cruise Origin vehicles to the streets of Austin, Texas starting on the evening of Tuesday, March 21st, 2023. The goal is once again to collect large amounts of high-quality data useful in improving the performance of the dedicated robotaxi if and when it receives NHTSA approval for release in a driverless format.
As a reminder, the purpose-built driverless Cruise Origin AV rides on the GM BEV3 platform. The vehicle is powered by Ultium Battery technology and Ultium Drive motors. Production, when it begins, will take place at the Factory Zero plant in Michigan.