At first blush, you’d think that you are looking at a Chevrolet Bolt EV, and you aren’t too wrong. The vehicle, officially known as the General Motors Cruise AV, is based on the bolt, but it’s got a couple of serious differences going on that you should probably be aware of. We aren’t talking about the nose job, but we will address the mess of electronics on the roof. But before we do, let’s address why GM even created this car. From their site:
“Imagine a world with no car crashes. Our self-driving vehicles aim to eliminate human driver error — the primary cause of 94 percent of crashes — leading to fewer injuries and fatalities.
Imagine widespread use of electric-only vehicles, reducing vehicle emissions. Our self-driving vehicles will all be electric, contributing to a better environment.
Imagine not sitting in traffic for what feels like half your life. And imagine a crowded city not filled with congested roads and parking lots and structures but with efficiently moving traffic and more space. Nearly one of three cars on city streets at any given time is simply looking for parking. Our technology will create better use of time and space. For everyone.
Imagine the peace of mind knowing that whatever our age, our stage of life or our physical capabilities we have the freedom to go wherever we want to go. Our self-driving vehicles will improve access to mobility for those who currently cannot drive due to age, disability, or otherwise.
The pathway to get all of us to this world requires integrating the software expertise of Silicon Valley with the systems safety and manufacturing expertise of Detroit and our teams around the world. With safety at the core, we are ready to take the next step.”
Meet the next step:
Congratulations, driver, you have just been made obsolete. The Cruise AV is the fourth-generation self-driving vehicle from GM that was developed in partnership with Cruise Automotive and it’s coming…GM has petitioned the Department of Transportation to seek approval to allow the Cruise AV to start forming up the basis of a ride-sharing service composed of these little robo-taxi cars. And they are in a race…Ford, Uber Technologies, Waymo and others are trying to carve up a slice of what they all believe is a market that will be ready to go. If the Cruise AV gets government approval, the next step would be to get approval from each of the individual U.S. states. Seven already allow the alterations that GM has incorporated. The cars would only be able to operate in pre-mapped areas (think New York City, Los Angeles, San Franscisco, etc.)
Why push for a driverless car? Think about the profit. Right now the company makes a one-time profit off of a vehicle, at the initial sale. Now, imagine the revenue one car can create while being used in a ride-share system. See the dollar signs? GM does.