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Cruise Origin: Driverless Taxi

Something interesting happened after last week’s article “Electric Classic Cars” was published. Actually a couple of somethings.  First, several of my die-hard classic car friends thought I lost my marbles.  Much like my initial reaction to the topic, they all thought the idea of converting classics to electric was less than smart (they used stronger words).  A couple saw my point and it got them to think.  Mission Accomplished!

The second thing to happen was an announcement by a General Motors-owned company, Cruise. They introduced a driverless vehicle that they named “Origin.”  Before I get into that vehicle, allow me to share a brief history of Cruise.

History of Cruise

Cruise was founded in 2013 with the intent to provide retrofit kits that would allow car owners to convert their car with limited driverless capability.  This kit was going to cost in the neighborhood of $10,000.  

Within the year, they changed their focus to building fully autonomous vehicles.  This got the attention of General Motors, who was already going down this path.  In 2016, GM acquired Cruise and Cruise became the core of GM’s self-driving vehicle efforts.  This aligned nicely with GM’s vision that the future of transportation requires these key elements:

  • Zero Emissions (reduce environmental damage)
  • Zero Crashes (reduce the number of accidents)
  • Zero Congestion (reduce vehicle crowding on our highways)

The Cruise Origin

Pictured above is the new Cruise Origin that was introduced this week.  While it looks pretty big, they say its footprint is about the same as a standard car.  Since it has no space set aside for a driver, the interior package is roomy and easy to access.  

I’ll let this VIDEO explain the concept (it is worth the 3 minute watch).  The team at Cruise claims this is not an improvement on the car–it is what you would build if there were no cars.

Here is where it makes sense to me–think about the times you ordered an Uber or Lyft for a ride across town or to the airport.  It is a real crapshoot as to what kind of car or driver you might get.  If it is an early morning drive, there is no guarantee an Uber or Lyft will even be available (how many times have you ordered an Uber and they did not show?).  An automated vehicle owned by one entity can provide a consistently positive experience.  No more creepy Uber drivers who get called by the police while you are riding with him (that’s for you, Courtney!).

Cruise claims this will be a shared ownership experience, which appears to mean it will be a subscription service.  All vehicles will be owned and operated by Cruise. I see this being a real advantage for commuters who might otherwise consider carpooling.  Minus the wear and tear on your own car.

Affects on the Car Hobby

You really thought I abandoned the core of this website by talking about electric cars and future mobility options, didn’t you?  Not so, my friends!  Over the years, a lot of us had to make a trade-off between having a fun/collectible car for your escape versus a reliable daily driver to get from point A to point B.  Many times, compromises are made between the two because of our limited funds.  If transportation options like the Origin become popular, this can free up both our highways and our bank accounts to driving more fun vehicles. 

Let vehicles like Origin get you where you need to be on a daily basis, and your special car where you want to be to escape.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.  As always, reach out through the comments below or privately through the “Ask the Nanny” contact form.

Bill

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