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General Motors' Autonomous Car Names, Ranked

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Every year, companies testing autonomous vehicles on California roadways have to submit a report on how many times a driver took control of the self-driving system, known as a “disengagement.” The 2016 reports are now out, and man, does General Motors have some superb names for their AVs.

GM began testing AVs in the state after purchasing, in March 2016, Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based company that retrofits cars with autonomous gadgetry. Cruise previously had some Nissan Leafs with self-driving tech installed, hence why the report reflects a GM-owned company using a Leaf. (They appear to have only been used through last July.)


Anyway, Cruise’s name game is pretty fantastic—Charlie? Osprey? Numbat! —so here’s a ranked list of the best of the best for its AV vehicles that were deployed in California.


1. Gargoyle

I mean, would you fuck with Gargoyle? What a dope name. It screams of rock-solid sturdiness, which to me is a great quality for an autonomous vehicle. Gargoyle’s one of three 2016 Nissan Leafs that appear in the report, and, I dunno, I love it.

2. Beluga

The great Beluga! What an adorable animal, and a pleasant name for a 2017 Chevy Bolt. World Wildlife Fund says Beluga whales have a “near-threatened” conservation status, which sounds vague, but means you should be nice to Belugas. This particular Bolt must be very nice.


3. Numbat

Look at this little guy! Name everything Numbat.


4. Storm

Simple, yet it conveys something that seems like an almost-plausible name for a new line of AVs from GM. Storms are intense—significant!—so this is a great name for a robot car.


5. Pronghorn

I saw a pronghorn while leaving Goblin Valley State Park in Utah after a night of camping. Stately animal. Good car name.


6. Caracal

As the San Diego Zoo describes it: “Pretty kitty” and it happens to be the fastest of small cats. Sounds apt for a self-driving Bolt.


7. Platypus

Not the most majestic looking creatures, sure, but I love them. To any auto company: In the future, sell The Platypus.


8. Polarbear

I wouldn’t have it in the top image if I didn’t like it.

9. Tamarin

Tamarin’s look like they have the amount of knowledge an AV needs to function properly on the road. Tamarin is fitting.


10. Macaw

Speaking of smart animals.

11. Redwolf

Not the best name, but there’s apparently only about 250 red wolves left in the wild. So maybe this is a low-key a call to action.


12. Lynx

Another plausible, animal-centric name for a marketable self-driving car.

13. Osprey

Just fun to say.

14. Mongoose

Hey there, little mongoose! I’m not particularly into your name as a vehicle, but you’re a good animal.


15. Albatross

I’m thinking about seagulls now, which, meh. Interesting name for a car, but no thanks.


16. Wombat

The wombat doesn’t seem like it’d function as an efficient vehicle. Cute animal, though.


17. Ironman

Maybe this should be higher, but it’s a lazy name compared to numbat.

18. Antelope

They’re somewhat similar, I guess, and I prefer pronghorns.

19. Charlie


20. Scarlet

Sharp, distinct color, sure. Bad car name.

21. Moa

The moa is... no more, which is a bummer. Extinction sucks. Why name the car moa?


22. Cheetah

Also boring. If you’re gonna use Charlie, there has to be a better name to turn to than leaning on a Cheetah. Cool, it’s fast.


23. Quicksilver

Yeah, maybe Quicksilver is cool, but it doesn’t jibe with the majority-animal thing going on here. Hard pass.


24. Leopard

(See #22)

25. Penguin

I can’t see Penguin performing well, even if it drove a couple hundred miles in November. Seems too clumsy.