GM’s autonomous vehicle division, Cruise, is set to begin manual data collection in Seattle and Washington D.C. this week. The process will enable Cruise to launch commercial services in both cities as the company continues to expand operations across the country. It’s estimated that Cruise is covering over a million driverless miles a month across its autonomous vehicle fleet.
In a recent post to social media, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt addressed the company’s latest data collection efforts in Seattle and Washington. According to Vogt, Cruise is now “pipelining [Cruise’s] deployment playbook across several cities simultaneously now.”
Early data collection is the first step towards launching commercial service in a new city.
We’re pipelining our deployment playbook across several cities simultaneously now.
Looking forward to seeing AVs in Seattle and DC! https://t.co/J3sTTFzcVC
— Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) August 28, 2023
Seattle is considered a particularly challenging urban environment due to the hilly terrain and frequent rainy weather, both of which will put the Cruise autonomous vehicle technology to the test.
The latest data collection announcement follows the rapid expansion of Cruise’s autonomous vehicle testing efforts across several major U.S. cities. In addition to Seattle and Washington D.C., Cruise has also deployed its driverless vehicles in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; and Phoenix, Arizona, as well as three cities in Texas, namely Austin, Dallas, and Houston, plus Cruise’s home city of San Francisco, California. Cruise is now charging customers for rides in San Francisco.
Earlier this month, Cruise announced that it had surpassed 4 million driverless miles across its driverless fleet, with the 3-million-mile mark reached in July. Cruise estimates that it is now operating roughly 400 AVs on public roads. Cruise is also waiting on approval from the NHTSA to deploy the Cruise Origin robotaxi, which is built from the ground-up as a fully autonomous vehicle without human pilot controls.
Amid the company’s rapid operational expansion, Cruise is also facing criticism that its autonomous vehicle technology is not yet ready for public use. Critics cite a number of incidents where Cruise AVs have been involved in accidents or otherwise caused some sort of obstruction. Recent reports indicate Cruise AVs have caused a traffic jam, driven through wet concrete, and collided with a fire truck.