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Cruise Automation Origin at Tipping Point

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General Motors' mission to get 5,000 self-driving Cruise Origin vehicles in cities nationwide hangs on whether federal regulators will grant the automaker's request to exempt the vehicle from federal safety standards. NHTSA's approval process for vehicles that do not have a human driver, such as the Cruise Origin, is required because current federal safety standards are written for cars that have a steering wheel and pedals. There is also a concern about overseas competition. China, for example, has made big investments in autonomous technology.

Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst for E-Mobility at Guidehouse Insights in Detroit said NHTSA is in no hurry to give its blessing to Cruise, or for that matter any other AV companies such as Veoneer's Zeus autonomous driving system or Tesla's full-self driving system. Abuelsamid said he is "fairly confident" that Cruise's self-driving cars will pass the federal crash test standards, but he believes that NHTSA does not want "to rush approving any AVs" for exemption from safety standards "because they don’t understand the problems and how to regulate these systems."

Excluding taxis and other smaller players, the ride hail market in the United States was about a $45 billion industry last year

Some great in-depth coverage here:

"Congress has been stymied for more than six years over legislation to ease regulations that would allow for the deployment of thousands of autonomous vehicles.

GM and its self-driving technology unit, Cruise, in February 2022 disclosed that they had petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for permission to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving vehicles annually without steering wheels, mirrors, turn signals or windshield wipers.

The NHTSA opened the petition for public comment in July 2022 but has not acted on it."

Barra is likely trying to help break the logjam so Cruise Origin robo-taxi rideshare service can expand beyond their current test markets. The Origin factory in Michigan is ready to produce the Origin AV in low volume toward the end of this year.

CEO Kyle Vogt said Cruise is rolling out the Origin robo-taxi on Austin’s public streets in the next several weeks. Cruise will be testing the Origin on public roads in Austin. But Cruise said the vehicles will be open to customers in a “matter of months.”

GM has a LOT riding on it's ride-share plans.
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