General Motors’ Cruise Automation division will not meet their goal of having a commercial self-driving ride-hailing service in 2019. The company is no longer providing a specific timeline for commercializing its self-driving technology.
In an interview with The Verge Cruise CEO Dan Ammann confirmed the company will be unable to meet is goal this year. Instead, Ammann confirmed the company plans to greatly expand its self-driving test fleet in San Francisco, but will not offer rides to regular people anytime in 2019.
Previously Cruise announced to investors it would offer a ride-hailing service in 2019 utilizing its autonomous vehicle fleet. Cruise seems to moving away from offering any timelines at all now. Ammann declined to say when he thinks the company’s plans will ultimately pan out.
“Our goal is to get there as soon as possible,” Ammann said. “We want that moment to come as quickly as we can. But everything that we do right now is going to be gated by safety. And that’s why we’re increasing our testing and validation mileage just to get to that point as rapidly as possible.”
Aside from the above, Ammann declined to get into specifics that are preventing the company from achieving its goal. Reports have surfaced suggesting the company is having trouble with its self-driving cars being slow with erratic maneuvers, but Ammann did not confirm or deny those reports.
In addition to technological challenges, Cruise is also facing regulatory issues. The company has submitted a request to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to build Cruise AV vehicles without a steering wheel or pedals. NHTSA decided it would take the matter for public comment and conduct a full review. The review ended in May, but Cruise is still awaiting NHTSA’s final decision.
GM purchased Cruise back in 2016 for $1 billion. The company was originally going to test its self-driving fleet in New York City, but failed to ever get approval from the state to test its fleet on public roads. Ultimately Cruise decided to stay in San Francisco, abandoning plans for its NYC office.