General Motors’ robotaxi division, Cruise, has taken a major step in autonomous transportation with the launch of a new self-driving vehicle adapted for people with disabilities. Called the Cruise WAV, this state-of-the-art vehicle offers easy access to wheelchair users.
The Cruise WAV is a derivative of the company’s Origin driverless car, which is distinguished by its lack of a traditional steering wheel and pedals. The innovative design allows passengers to face each other comfortably. Notably, Cruise is still awaiting a landmark regulatory approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to deploy these driverless vehicles. A petition filed by Cruise last year sought permission to release up to 2,500 Origin vehicles annually, with the NHTSA’s verdict expected shortly.
Cruise plans to start a pilot program for the WAV next year, subject to receiving the necessary regulatory green lights. This initiative will begin its testing phase in closed courses from next month. This measure addresses ongoing criticism of ride-hailing and robotaxi services for their insufficient number of wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Shortages often result in long wait times for users with disabilities.
This announcement comes at a crucial time for Cruise. Both Cruise and its competitor, Alphabet’s Waymo, recently obtained permits to operate their robotaxi around the clock in San Francisco and to charge for rides. However, this approval has not been without controversy, as both residents and municipal agencies have expressed concerns about the safety implications and possible disruptions to emergency services.
This article is sourced from and written by AI.
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