Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Cruise Origin: is this the future of urban transportation?

Cruise Origin: is this the future of urban transportation?

Compared with owning a vehicle, using Cruise's service will save $5,000 a year, according to the company. The Cruise Origin is a self driven electric vehicle which is designed for transportation. "You never know what you're going to get; you might get an awesome auto with an awesome driver, or you might get a compact vehicle that smells like Doritos and Mountain Dew".

There are no conventional vehicle controls at all, and nowhere for a safety driver to sit; the Cruise Origin is completely driverless.

The Origin is roughly a year away from first testing on San Francisco streets-and it might get some testing in other closed environments before then-but the company's current Gen 3 vehicles continue to gather data that will be used for smoother operation in them. On the outside and on the inside it more closely resembles a luxurious train auto than a motor vehicle. Aside from GM, the majority owner, Cruise's backers include Honda and SoftBank of Japan.

Origin is the result of a collaboration between GM and Honda (an investor in the former). "It's not a product you buy; it's an experience you share", said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.

But the Origin is an autonomous vehicle through and through.

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Because a vehicle like the Origin would be in constant use, instead of being parked for the majority of its life like a conventional auto, Cruise believes the average San Francisco household using an Origin vehicle for themselves, or as part of a ride-sharing service, could save $5,000 per year. As indicated, the vehicle can operate both day and night without rest because there is no driver who has to rest (it is understood that it will have to be recharged). With its super-sensitive sensors, the vehicle can keep a track of it surrounding effectively and with each drive, its functionality and driving techniques keep improving. Those sensors are developed and built in-house by Cruise. Each sensor can rotate to monitor for obstacles while having the ability to see in total darkness. The vehicle has a pair of bench seats facing each other with tons of legroom between both seats.

Without needing a driver and a bulky internal combustion motor, the Origin's interior can be configured for maximum roominess and comfort. The sliding doors to the Origin are far wider than a typical vehicle, leaving room for two people to enter or exit at the same time. According to Cruise, the simple and modular construction of Origin makes it easy and cost-effective to fix.

After taking in the Cruise Origin reveal, Levy reports that the question on costs to scale up AV infrastructure and the timing of commercial deployment are still unanswered.

Is Cruise Origin the end of traditional ride-hailing services as we know it? It's hard to say. but it all depends on a variety of factors like cos t of the service, vehicle range, and the charging infrastructure.

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