Kyle Vogt, CEO and founder of Cruise Automation, revealed very big news for his company and its owner GM, which acquired the startup past year.
Today, we’re announcing the first production design of a self-driving auto that can be built at massive scale. And, he says, it’s the first auto that’s ready to be produced at scale once the software and regulations are in place.
“Unlike the previous generations, which were similar to Chevrolet Bolt EV design, the vehicles we’re unveiling today have nearly completely new and fault-tolerant electrical, communication, and actuation systems that are unique to a driverless vehicle”.
Vogt added that the cars will soon appear on the road, and while looking like everyday vehicles he says they will be “the most technically advanced robots on the planet”.
Cruise has focused on rapidly deploying self-driving cars at scale to drive down costs and improve the capabilities of the technology, which in turn would allow the autonomous vehicles to be deployed at an even larger scale. All were “on the way to enabling what Kyle just announced, the first mass-produced, autonomous high-volume auto”. Just over a year later, General Motors and Cruise Automation have made enough progress to announce the launch of mass production of self-driving vehicles. What that means is that it has “full redundancy” throughout the autonomous system, so that it’s ready mechanically and from a sensor and software perspective to “fail operationally and be safe”.
Vogt said the new, third-generation vehicle has been engineered to be built on the same assembly line as the standard Bolt without needing to be customized after it leaves the factory. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into those cars and it’s hard to keep them running”. The new auto, Vogt told Recode, will “be built with automotive-grade compliance across the board and is capable of going down a high-volume assembly line in one of GM’s state of the art facilities that can crank out hundreds of thousands of cars a year, and when those vehicles roll off the line they’re fully capable of operating without a driver”.
So far, 50 of the new vehicles have been built, with production expected to ramp up from here on out.