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General Motors Rolls out Autonomous Shuttle Origin

GM subsidiary Cruise Automation has now launched its self-driving shuttle named Origin. [1] 

This driverless shuttle is an electric and shared production vehicle by GM. It does not have any manual controls such as pedals or a steering wheel and can seat up to 6 passengers [2]. The vehicle comes with airbags, “Start Ride” buttons, and an SOS button. There is also a camera on the roof of the interior which deploys computer vision models that can, for instance, analyze the sentiment of the riders. Mounted sensors function as the shuttle’s eyes, and rotate, much like an owl’s head, to help the car perceive what’s going on around it.

Cruise has permission to test driverless vehicles on public roads in California only if they have a human safety driver on board. Unlike their competitors Waymo, Pony.ai, AutoX and Zoox, they are yet to be allowed testing without a safety driver.

 

Personal comments

Even though Cruise has stated that vehicles like Origin will ‘save the average San Francisco resident up to $5000’ [2] and be a much safer alternative, they are yet to show how they came to these conclusions. As usual, when automation is discussed, it’s not the easiest task to show that it’s a safer alternative. I mean, the question still remains – safer than what? And how does one go about to quantify it? 

 

Written by Mahdere DW Amanuel, RISE.

 

Source

1. 2020-01-21. GM unveils Cruise Origin driverless shuttle.

2. 2020-01-21. GM’s Cruise rolls out Origin, an autonomous electric vehicle with no steering wheel.