Last Month, GM announced that it had finished testing its Chevy Bolt EV autonomous car, and now the company is pairing it with a new app that lets people call one of the manufacturer’s vehicles to take them anywhere within San Francisco.
The app, called Cruise, is part of the “Cruise Anywhere” service that GM and Cruise Automation are now offering to their employees, who can use the app and self-driving cars anytime, any day of the week…provided a car is available. It provides a similar service to other ride-sharing services, albeit without a driver in control of the car. Due to California law, however, a driver must be present behind the wheel in the event manual control is required.
“We’re really excited about how the technology is evolving, and the rate at which it’s evolving. This is a manifestation of that — putting the app in people’s hands and having them use it for the first time and make AVs their primary form of transportation,” said Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt in an interview with TechCrunch.
While the app and Chevy Bolt EV are currently exclusive to GM and Cruise employees, it’s only a matter of time before they, and other autonomous cars, are publicly available. Their presence on the road, even if only for testing purposes, can help prepare drivers for future interactions with them.
If the fleet tests proceed without accidents or even the need for manual control, those still wary of the concept might be put at ease, to say nothing of the benefits of serving the public trust. Autonomous cars, combined with Elon Musk’s underground tunnel system, could not only free up space on streets and highways, but make driving from place to place more efficient, providing additional free time for professionals weary of bumper-to-bumper transit.