It was first shown as a concept in early 2020, and now the unmanned Cruise Origin shuttle has finally been spotted testing.

The Origin prototype in our spy shots looks almost identical to the concept, although the various sensors located on the leading edge of the car’s roof are here exposed rather than hidden behind a dash. The sensors mounted in each corner, including the lidar sensor, also appear larger than what was shown on the concept.

The testing took place within the confines of a General Motors test facility near Milford, Michigan, and it appears the person was still driving the car. However, Cruise is using modified Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to develop its self-driving system and already has a fleet of them drives around San Francisco in test operation without human drivers.

Origin will be the primary vehicle that Cruise will use once its driverless taxi service is fully up and running, which is expected to happen in 2023. Origin has been designed to take advantage of scale, with easy hardware upgrades and a service life of over a million miles.

Cruise Origin self-driving car

GM is Cruise’s largest shareholder and will be responsible for production of the Origin. The all-electric shuttle, based on GM’s Ultium EV platform, is slated to go into production in early 2023 at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit. The GM plant now builds the GMC Hummer EV.

While San Francisco will be the first location where Origins will be set, Cruise also announced in early 2021 that he plans deploy vehicles in Japan after all. Cruise will work with Honda, another major shareholder, for operations in Japan.

Cruise’s driverless control system ranks first Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability, as it is limited in the areas in which it operates. The ultimate goal is Level 5, where a self-driving car is capable of operating at the same level as a human. While Level 5 may take a decade or more, companies are already offering commercial services using Level 4 vehicles. Alphabet’s Waymo One service has been working in parts of Phoenix and China for the past three years Baidu has launched its Apollo Go service in Beijing last year.

A prototype was spotted a few weeks later The Wall Street Journal The California regulator responsible for issuing permits for self-driving cars has reportedly said it is looking into potential safety issues with the Cruze, detailed in an anonymous letter purportedly from a person who worked for the company.

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