Today’s cars have autonomous features, but none of them are fully autonomous. No matter how much steering and braking they can manage, a human driver is still required as backup. The Cruise Origin has no such restrictions and looks completely unlike today’s cars.
Cruise Automation is the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of General Motors. It debuted the Cruise Origin at a special unveiling to showcase what future autonomous vehicles will look like when the technology no longer requires humans.
The Origin is shaped like a pod with a boxy design rather than looking like a traditional vehicle. It has sliding doors, but unlike a minivan where a single door slides back, these split in the middle. Step inside and the Origin looks even less like the car in your driveway.
As you enter, there’s seating to your left and right, but instead of facing toward the front of the vehicle, seats face each other. This facilitates conversation between everyone since no one needs to take on the chore of driving.
Missing from the Cruise Origin is a steering wheel, rearview mirror, and pedals because this is intended to be a true autonomous vehicle. Instead of feeling like you’re in a car, it tries to recreate your living room.
Passengers sit across from each other for easy conversation with lots of room. Everyone can spread out and relax whether that means reading a book, taking a nap, or simply gazing out the window.
The Cruise Origin will also be an electric vehicle built on a platform from GM. Technology upgrades will be possible without having to replace the car and the vehicle should run for up to one million miles. You’ll be able to hail the Origin via an app like traditional ridesharing services.
Details about the motor, battery and output are still forthcoming. There’s also no word on when it will be available. Expect to see it first in San Francisco when it finally does arrive.