Cruise has sights on NY

GM’s Cruise Automation will expand its test pool, whilst keeping a focus on city driving, something it has said gives it an edge in the autonomous driving space.

Cruise will test its self-driving fleet in New York in a five-mile square section of Manhattan, the company announced, led via the WSJ, in a move that will also make it the first automaker to test autonomous vehicles in the city. Each will have a safety driver on board, tackling inclement four-season weather, as well as other drivers and pedestrians who are less laid back than their west coast counterparts.

Alongside the pilot deployment, Cruise will also be operating a new research centre in the city. Nothing has been said regarding the timeframes for consumer-facing deployment, but as Cruise’s testing in NYC proceeds, it seems likely the GM subsidiary will replicate its staff-facing prototype on-demand autonomous pick up service in Manhattan, too.

Cruise believes its testing in city environments provides much more useful data in terms of helping teach its autonomous driving systems compared to testing in suburban areas, such as the Arizona pilot location for Waymo’s on-demand ride hailing trial. They believe more major cities to become testing targets for Cruise as capacity and local regulators allow, since it seems that GM will aim to deploy future consumer self-driving services in those areas first.