GM’s self-driving robotaxi unit, Cruise, is poised to deploy a small fleet of autonomous cars in Seattle, Washington. The initial deployment of the vehicles will reportedly include safety drivers.
Cruise’s deployment in the city will begin in sections of downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Fremont, the University District, and West Seattle. From this, Cruise would be able to collect valuable real-world data. The robotaxi provider would be joining other self-driving units that are also operating in Seattle today, such as Zoox.
In a comment to Geek Wire, Cruise executive VP of engineering Mohamed Elshenawy noted that Seattle would be a great testing ground for the company’s self-driving robotaxis. The city, after all, features hilly areas and inclement weather conditions, which should present Cruise with some interesting edge cases and challenges.
“Seattle is a great urban environment for us to continue to extend our testing and operations,” Elshenawy said.
Seattle would be the latest city that hosts Cruise’s driverless robotaxis. The company is also currently running tests in several other US cities, such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Miami, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona. Cruise has received permission to operate a paid 24/7 robotaxi service in San Francisco, California as well.
Cruise’s ramp in San Francisco has attracted its own fair share of critics, especially following incidents that involved the robotaxis disrupting traffic, getting stuck on wet concrete, and being in collisions with other cars. Cruise, for its part, has highlighted that its vehicles are safe, with stellar safety records over the company’s 4 million driverless miles.
“Our tech is continuously improving, and we’re proud of our safety record of over 4 million driverless miles in an extremely complex, urban environment without a serious safety incident. This is a novel technology that draws scrutiny and is illustrated against the backdrop of over 40,000 deaths each year on American roads.
“We believe it’s clear that Cruise positively impacts overall road safety, and look forward to working with regulators to make any improvements and provide any data they need to reinforce the safety and efficiency of our fleet,” a Cruise spokesperson noted.
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