GM’s autonomous vehicle division, Cruise, is set to deploy a small fleet of vehicles on the streets of Seattle, Washington. Cruise hopes to collect data and test the capabilities of its autonomous vehicle technology in Seattle’s challenging urban environment, which includes hilly roads and variable weather conditions. The initial deployment will include piloted vehicles, at least for now.
According to a recent report from GeekWire, Cruise will operate in sections of downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Fremont, the University District, and West Seattle. In an interview, Cruise executive VP of engineering, Mohamed “Mo” Elshenawy, said that Seattle was “a great urban environment” for Cruise to continue extending its testing and operations. The company will be collecting data, as well as assessing the readiness of sensor systems, local infrastructure, computing and network systems, and hardware / software interface.
Cruise isn’t the only company testing its autonomous technology in Seattle. Amazon-owned Zoox, as well as Nvidia, are also operating driverless vehicles in the city under an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the Seattle Department of Transportation.
Seattle is the latest city to host Cruise test vehicles. The company is also currently running Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Phoenix, Arizona. Cruise is also testing in three cities in Texas, specifically Austin, Dallas, and Houston, and it is currently charging customers for rides in San Francisco. Cruise is headquartered in San Francisco.
Cruise recently announced that its autonomous fleet had surpassed 4 million driverless miles across its operations. The company announced passing 3 million driverless miles in July. With operations quickly expanding, Cruise now estimates that it is covering more than 1 million driverless miles per month. The company claims to have roughly 400 AVs on the road. Cruise is currently waiting on approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to deploy the Cruise Origin AV, a dedicated robotaxi build from the ground-up to be fully autonomous.