The big picture: When you step back and think about it, traditional cars really aren’t all that ridesharing friendly. They’re difficult to get in and out of, aren’t meant to accommodate a lot of passengers and have lots of useless instruments taking up space. Really, they are best suited for individuals or small groups taking long trips.
Cruise this week showed off its vision for the future – an electric shuttle bus constructed by majority shareholder General Motors that’s purpose built for ridesharing.
Cruise has reimagined the automobile as if it never existed in the first place. The Origin strips out unnecessary equipment like the steering wheel, pedals, rearview mirrors, windshield wipers, fuel tanks and cramped seats. In their place, you’ll find spacious seats that face each other and sliding subway cart-style doors with wide entryways.
These autonomous shuttles will operate 24/7 and run for at least one million miles – far more than you can get out of the average car. Redundancy is built in so there’s no need for a backup human driver. On average, the company said a family in San Francisco that drives or use ridesharing could save up to $5,000 per year with Origin.
How – or when – we can expect to realize those savings remains a mystery as Cruise hasn’t yet shared details on when and where production will take place. We also don’t know much about the vehicle’s powertrain, battery system or cost – both how much it’ll cost Cruise to operate and how much they’ll charge riders for the opportunity.