Cruise Automation, backed by the General Motors and Honda, recently unveiled a prototype of a production autonomous vehicle, the Cruise Origin.
It's an all-electric, driverless vehicle (no steering wheel or pedals), which can take up to six passengers (or a lot of cargo in the van version) and be used in a ride-hailing service.
A spacious vehicle like this might be an ultimate robo-taxi, working 24/7 instead of sitting 95% of the time in a parking lot like an ordinary car. With an estimated lifespan of well over 1 million miles (1.6 million km), it should also be a pretty interesting business opportunity.
According to Reuters, soon the Cruise Origin will be tested by employees at private facilities.
It's not yet known when production will start, which also depends on government approval for such services, but the expected cost of Origin will be "half that of a high-end electric sports-utility vehicle (SUV)".
Previously, Cruise Automation was using the Chevrolet Bolt EV, retrofitted for autonomous driving, but it's obvious that a dedicated vehicle like Origin would be far better for the job.
Let's take a look at the unveiling and a few media reports:
The Cruise Origin Story - unveiling