GM Cruise unveils its first driverless vehicle

Cruise, the autonomous driving start-up, majority owned by General Motors, has unveiled its first vehicle designed to be driverless.

The Electric-powered Cruise Origin was developed by Honda, which also has an interest in the company.

The launch of the vehicle, which has no steering wheel or pedals, was delayed compared to last year.

Cruise said it was designed to be shared: “It’s not a product you buy, it’s an experience you share.”

CEO Dan Ammann wants drivers to abandon individual ownership and adopt a sharing model to reduce emissions, accidents and congestion.

Speaking at the launch in San Francisco, he said the Cruise Origin was not a concept vehicle: “It is autonomous. It is all electric. It is shared.”

He did not specify when the vehicle would go into production or how much the company planned to build. It has not been approved for use on the roads, and will require extensive testing before it is granted.

“Our work is far from over,” said Ammann on Tuesday.

This is not Cruise’s first foray into driverless cars. For years, he tested modified Chevrolet Bolt electric cars with test drivers behind the wheel.

General Motors intended to launch a commercial autonomous vehicle service in San Francisco last year, but delayed the plan saying the vehicles needed more testing.

The Cruise Origin faced unexpected technical challenges due to difficulties in identifying if objects were in motion.

Honda took 5.7% stake in Cruise for $ 2.75 billion (£ 2.1 billion) in 2018. As part of the deal, General Motors announced plans to develop an autonomous vehicle in October 2018. The Japanese Vision SoftBank Fund also invested in the company.

Other automakers are racing to launch autonomous cars using the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, although they are hampered by safety and regulatory concerns. A number of deaths involving autonomous vehicles have led to more government intervention and calls for more development.

German automaker Volkswagen struggles with the development of autonomous cars and complains about the “enormous complexities we face”.