Cruise AV is GM's first car without a steering wheel
Cruise Automotive is taking the wraps off its first fully autonomous car, the Cruise AV, and it's a lot more than a Bolt EV without a brake pedal.
Tim StevensFormer editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Watch this: GM shows off its autonomus future with the Cruise AV
The autonomous revolution is nearly upon us, and today General Motors is entering the fray properly with this, the Cruise AV. The fruit of GM's $1 billion acquisition of Cruise Automotive back in March of 2016, the Cruise AV is a properly driverless car. That is to say, it has no steering wheel, no pedals and no real driver controls at all -- aside from a touchscreen -- and GM says it'll hit the road in 2019.
Intended just for a GM-operated ride-sharing service, you'll summon a Cruise AV using an app, much like using a service like Lyft -- which GM also happens to own a fair bit of. You can also input your destination through the app and the car will safely, silently usher you along.
But it goes beyond that. You can also input things like preferred temperature and music, and the car will make sure it's set to your preferences before showing up on the curb.
General Motors Cruise AV is more than a Bolt without a steering wheel
Once inside, passengers will receive constant updates on the car's progress and status through a series of touchscreens: one in the dash up front and two more behind the headrests for passengers in the rear. It's through these screens the car will give an idea of what it can "see" of the world around.
And how will it see? Through a complex and redundant series of optical, laser and radar scanners, including three separate radar systems. Should any one of the sensor systems fails, a backup system could cover. Likewise, the autonomous processing system is fully redundant, so any failure there would simply result in switching from one to the other.
The Cruise AV has been tested extensively in San Francisco (and we've surely seen them motoring around at all hours of the day and night) and presumably will launch there first in 2019, when they start hitting the roads.
No word on when they might be available to other ride-sharing services or, indeed, whether you or I will ever be able to buy one, but GM says the Cruise AV is a big part of its plan for "a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion." That sounds like a pretty good place to us.