Innovation

Driverless Vehicles Here ‘Very Quickly,’ Says Cruise CEO

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The battle to create the first successful fleet of autonomous vehicles is heating up.

Last year, GM acquired Cruise Automation, a Bay Area driverless vehicle developer startup that currently has a fleet of 50 Chevrolet Bolt EVs testing on the streets of San Francisco, as well as in Arizona and Michigan.

Those tests appear to be going well, as Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt reportedly told Forbes that automated GM vehicles controlled by his startup’s technology are going to be deployed “very quickly.”

While Vogt didn’t say much else, he did mention that driverless cars will be here sooner than the industry expects, and that GM and Cruise would deploy their cars in a rideshare capacity, which makes sense. GM announced a $500 million investment in Lyft back in January to develop an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles. Additionally, GM joined Lyft’s board of directors as a controlling party.

“We see the future of personal mobility as connected, seamless and autonomous,” said GM President Dan Ammann in a statement. “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision more rapidly.”

What Vogt didn’t comment on while talking with Forbes was a Reuters report from back in February that stated GM has plans to build and test a fleet of self-driving cars numbered in the thousands. While unconfirmed, this plan would certainly fall within the realm of “very quickly.”

GM isn’t the only company gunning for autonomous vehicle adoption. Outside of tech industry endeavors like Waymo, or rideshare efforts from Uber and Lyft, a number of incumbent auto manufacturers also have self-driving projects in the works.

Last month, Ford announced a $1 billion investment in a joint product with Argo AI to outfit Ford vehicles with self-driving technology by 2021. BMW, Chrysler, Toyota, VW and others are all racing to build autonomous vehicles within the next five years.

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