Cruise is the robotaxi unit of GM, with plans to develop a fleet of driverless cars that it thinks could revolutionize transportation, or at least be as important as then the Model T. GM’s CEO Mary Barra recently got a ride in one, and she thought the experience was “incredible.”
Cruise posted video of the ride to their YouTube channel, which shows Barra getting into a Cruise vehicle along with Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt, after apparently ordering the ride on an app on her phone. It was Barra’s first driverless Cruise ride. Intercut is a separate ride that GM President Mark Reuss took in a Cruise with Craig Bucholz, a GM vice president. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happens, but I think that’s the point Cruise is trying to make here.
“A lot of people have asked me, ‘You know, how are you going to get people to use it?’” Barra says in the video. “We were in the vehicle for five minutes and the trust is there. I really think that the apprehension that some people think they have is going to dissipate extremely quickly when they get the experience.”
It is logical for people to fear driverless cars, in that it is logical to fear any new unproven technology, which the Cruise cars certainly are. And while I’m sure some people’s fears will be eased simply by using it once, as Barra suggests, the rest of us will want to see evidence that Cruise vehicles can do what they purport to do — go from point A to point B with no driver — safely, and over millions of miles, too. You know, for due diligence, even though the GM executives seemed like they had seen enough at the end of their trips.
“Absolutely flawless,” Reuss says. “It’s going to change the world.”