GM Unveils the Electric Ride Sharing Car of Your Future

The Cruise Origin has space, seats, smarts, and no steering wheel

What: GM Cruise unveiled the Cruise Origin EV autonomous ride-hailing and sharing car in San Francisco.

How: The self-driving, all-electric car is designed to be part of an autonomous ride-sharing service and technology, currently testing on the streets of San Francisco.

Why Do You Care: Two factors at play here: the amount of time we don’t drive our ever-depreciating cars and the potential for injury or life loss in a car accident. GM Cruise contends that its Origin vehicles and technology have a positive impact on all of that.

Cruise Origin
The GM Cruise Origin in San Francisco. Cruise

Every day I drive my Mazda 6 to the train station, then park it for 12 hours before driving it back home. It gets roughly 10 minutes of drive time a day, while living out most of its days essentially unused. My story is not the exception, it’s the rule. A 2016 report found that most cars are parked up to 95% of the time.

It would probably make more sense for me to Uber to the train station (I might walk it in the summer), but what if I can’t get an Uber?

GM’s Cruise Origin, which autonomous electrical vehicle startup Cruise (bought by GM in 2016) unveiled on Tuesday, is designed to address the issue of unpredictable ride-sharing variables as well as the vagaries of driving your own car, like the risk of accidents (the Association for Safe International Travel says 1.25 M people die in road crashes every year).

According to Wired and a Medium post by Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, the Origin is transportation designed “as if the car had never existed.”

The vehicle, which Cruise showed off in San Francisco on Tuesday, looks a little like a van and a little like a tiny bus. There’s the slightly boxy design, the massive door that slides wide enough to accommodate a person stepping on as someone else steps off, and the threshold which sits very low to the ground.

A third generation of the Cruise technology is, according to Ammann, already ferrying San Francisco-based Cruise employees to and from work. However, most of these rides are in modified Chevy Bolts. Those who end up riding in the Origin are in for a more extraordinary experience.

First, the Cruise Origin is summoned by an app. Inside are seats that face each other. Notably absent is a steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, side mirrors, and even windshield wipers. The Origin is literally designed as if drivers never existed.

Built with technology from Honda and GM, the Cruise Origin features a GM electric motor and what Ammann called “a multi-layered sensor suite.”

Cruise Chevy Bolts
Until Cruise is ready to deploy Origins, the state of the ride-hailing art from Cruise is this Chevy Bolt. Cruise

The company has been collecting ride data with the fleet of modified Chevy Bolts and Ammann wrote that the cars already handle unpredictable urban driving “exceptionally well.”

Unlike traditional cars that, even when used, often don’t survive beyond 100,000 miles, Cruise’s Ammann predicts the Origin’s modular design will give it a lifespan of at least 1 million miles. Cruises’ Ammann also believes the Origin can be built affordably if GM builds enough electric vehicles—it’s promising 20 new EVs by 2022.

Cruise Origin is not coming to your neighborhood anytime soon. The company is still busy perfecting its autonomous driving technology. When it does deploy, according to Wired, the initial Cruise system will likely be on modified Chevy Bolts (no steering wheels or pedals).

Via: Wired