Cruise, a majority-owned autonomous vehicle subsidiary of General Motors, expects the production of its driverless shuttle named Origin in early 2023, CEO Dan Ammann said on Thursday.
The timeframe given for the vehicle is the most detailed to date and also provides information on when the commercial operation of the current test fleet for autonomous vehicles from Cruise is expected to begin.
The Origin is the company’s first vehicle specifically designed to operate without a driver on board. It does not have manual controls such as pedals or a steering wheel.
Cruise’s current test fleet consists of hundreds of customers Chevrolet Bolt EVs equipped with driverless technology. Ammann said the fleet that is scheduled to begin operations will continue to expand until the Origin goes into production.
“That will continue to take shape on the balance sheet this year and next, but it will really start to grow when Cruise Origin goes into production and reaches high volumes,” Ammann said at the Financial Times Future of the Car virtual conference “. “Then you will see that things really start to rise.”
The comments come a day later Reuters reported Cruise and rival Waymo have applied for permits required to bill for any autonomous vehicle rides and deliveries in San Francisco. Neither company announced when they intend to launch services, the report said.
The company declined to comment on a time frame for a public launch. However, Ammann sounded optimistic about such operations, starting with the Bolt vehicles before the Origin goes into production.
In response to a hypothetical question about public surgeries starting within the next two to three years, Ammann said “that sounds reasonable to me”.
His comments were in line with those of Mary Barra, GM’s CEO. In March, she said the company was “confident” that Cruise would start operations and commercialize “sooner than many think”.
Kyle Vogt, Cruise Chief Technology Officer (left), with Oliver Cameron, CEO of Voyage, who will join Cruise as part of an acquisition of the company.
Commercializing autonomous vehicles has been far more difficult than many predicted a few years ago. The challenges have led to a consolidation of the autonomous vehicle sector after years of touting the technology next Multitrillion Dollar Market for transport companies.
Some companies, such as About Technologieshave given up developing the systems in-house while others like Zoox have sold to Amazon. alphabet Waymo remains the best-known leader and operates a public autonomous vehicle fleet in Arizona.
Cruise was scheduled to launch a hailship service to the public in San Francisco in 2019. The company delayed those plans this year to conduct further testing. In San Francisco, the company has operated a hailship service for employees with a current fleet of autonomous vehicles for several years.
The origin is expected to be produced from GM at its Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan facility.