Cruise, the self-driving car company affiliated with General Motors and Honda, is testing fully driverless cars, without a human safety driver behind the steering wheel, in San Francisco. The company is among the first to test its driverless vehicles in a dense, complex urban environment.
From an article in The Verge by Andrew J. Hawkins.
“Getting to driverless in SF took more than five years of rigorous testing, over 2 million miles of driving in one of the craziest driving environments, together with hard work from a huge team of dedicated engineers and others across Cruise, as well as at GM,” Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a call with reporters. “And not to mention several billion dollars of investment along the way.”
To be sure, the vehicles are not completely alone in the wilderness. In a video released by the company, a Cruise employee is seen in the passenger seat while the car drives itself through the darkened streets of San Francisco. Cruise’s vehicles all have an emergency switch in the center channel near the gear shift in case something goes wrong, and they are also monitored remotely by Cruise employees. Asked whether remote operators are able to take control of the vehicle when needed, Ammann declined to answer.
“The safety operator has the ability to bring the vehicle to a stop in the event of an emergency, but does not have access to standard driver controls,” a spokesperson said. “Eventually, this safety operator will be fully removed.”
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