Auto Tech

GM still waiting to test self-driving vehicles in New York

The state is really stretching its definition of "early 2018."

General Motors

Bureaucracy slows down everything this side of the global climate, including General Motors' attempts to test self-driving cars on the east end of the US.

Six months after it was originally announced, General Motors and Cruise Automation still have not received a permit to test its self-driving cars in New York, Jalopnik reports. The original announcement from the governor's office cited a deployment of "early 2018," and mid-May is hardly "early."

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One day, little friend, one day you'll be able to receive countless pointless honks from taxi drivers who insist on turning left from the far right lane.

Cruise Automation

Not everyone is on-board with the idea of testing AVs in Manhattan. "The Mayor has strenuously opposed this pilot on heavily travelled lower Manhattan streets," said Seth Stein, a spokesman for the mayor's office, via email. "The State should stop it immediately." The New York governor's office and the New York DMV did not immediately return requests for comment.

At the time of last year's announcement, GM said Cruise had mapped about 5 square miles in Manhattan, but it appears that map has grown since then. "Cruise has mapped a significant portion of NYC," said a spokesperson for Cruise Automation via email. "New York is a complex regulatory environment and we continue to work with stakeholders on next steps." It's unclear what is holding up the process for the time being, although the statement from the mayor's office makes it sound like political differences between upstate and downstate are partially to blame.

General Motors purchased Cruise Automation in 2016. While technically a GM subsidiary, the company still acts independently as it develops the hardware necessary for full vehicle automation. The company revealed its first truly driverless car, a Chevrolet Bolt EV lacking a wheel or pedals, earlier this year. Its testing has taken place primarily in California, but it's active in other locations, eventually including New York, if all goes according to plan.

While Cruise will be the first firm to have a fully fledged AV presence in New York, it's not the first through the door. Last June, Audi received a permit to test AVs in the state of New York and did exactly that in Albany approximately two weeks after the initial news broke.