Cruise, like much of the industry, has admitted that the technical challenges of self-driving cars are more difficult than once thought. It had originally planned to launch an autonomous driving service by the end of 2019. Vogt has learned his lesson: He says it is no longer “reasonable to set a tough, tough deadline or date” when fleets of genuine driverless vehicles might ferry paying passengers in San Francisco.
Among the challenges according to Vogt: Cruise must know that the vehicle will function safely and carefully if e.g. Loosen an internal wire. It must know that the car will react safely to a situation that it is not trained to handle. For this purpose, Cruise has been testing driverless cars for several months at a General Motors facility in Michigan.
The San Franciscans have not always been familiar with the self-driving test in their midst. In the five years since Cruise began testing in California, its cars have reportedly been involved in fights with cabbies and taken at least one stray golf ball to the windshield. Collision reports submitted by the DMV indicate that self-driving vehicles testing in California are involved in occasional fender benders. The latest reports from September show that cruise cars testing in autonomous mode have been overturned, encountered and involved in collisions, which according to the reports sometimes leave the company̵
That future may be hard to visualize, but Cruise has some ideas. Earlier this year, the company hosted a San Francisco launch event for a vehicle it calls Origin, a six-seater electric vehicle designed for autonomous driving and delivery. “That’s what you would build if there were no cars,” said Ammann, CEO.
This story originally appeared on wired.com.