General Motors-owned Cruise Automation is applying to begin testing fully-self driving cars in the Empire State, according to an announcement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The news comes just a month after another Cruise Automation announcement that it intends to test its self-driving technology with members of the public in San Francisco.
The company has already begun mapping out a geofenced area in Manhattan, in which it intends to test the vehicles. The vehicles will be fully-self driving prototypes, but Cruise will keep two occupants — including an engineer in the driver’s seat — at all times.
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Celebrating the announcement, Governor Cuomo said, “the spirit of innovation is what defines New York, and we are positioned on the forefront of this emerging industry that has the potential to be the next great technological advance that moves our economy and moves us forward.”
While other companies self-driving prototypes have had some notable teething problems in less densely-packed cities like Chandler, Arizona, Cruise Automation sees Manhattan’s challenges as a catalyst that will yield faster development time.
“New York City is one of the most densely populated places in the world and provides new opportunities to expose our software to unusual situations, which means we can improve our software at a much faster rate,” Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt said.
With the announcement, Cruise Automation is likely to be the first company to publicly test self-driving vehicles in the New York City, as the battle among different manufacturers heats up in the race for the first commercially-ready self-driving car.