Tech companies most commonly test their new technologies in California’s Silicon Valley, predominantly in the San Francisco area. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, and recently Cruise, started their testing phases just off the coast of the Bay. The self-driving car manufacturing company, Cruise, has officially begun branching out its testing locations, setting sights on the south. This week they announced they will begin testing their autonomous cars in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the early stages of the tests, Cruise cars will have a person sitting behind the wheel of the car in case of an emergency. Aside from emergency situations, the cars will be operating autonomously. As they progress with their testing stages, the cars will be completely driverless and running tests as a ride-hailing service in certain parts of Atlanta. Specifically, they will be testing in downtown Atlanta, midtown Atlanta, and Buckhead.
A spokeswoman of the company, Anna Haase, called this early stage in testing an “important first step.” Having the cars drive around with a person still present behind the wheel will give the vehicles the chance to learn the roads and streets of Atlanta safely. As soon as the company feels confident in the vehicle’s capacity to operate on its own, they will move to the next test stage.
Cruise has a large financial support system with several high-profile companies investing in them.
Some of the self-driving car company’s investors are General Motors, Honda, Walmart, and Microsoft, to name a few. With their backing, Cruise has been able to design and build a fleet of about 400 all-electric, primarily self-driving vehicles. They have previously tested their self-driving tech in San Francisco, California; Austin, Texas; and Phoenix, Arizona.
Thus far in their tests, Cruise cars have reportedly driven over 3 million miles without a driver. These millions of miles were reportedly done over tens of thousands of rides. Phoenix in particular reported that they had over 35,000 successful deliveries with their self-driving cars.
Cruise has released statements calling safety in these testing stages their number one priority. In their statement, they called their mission “to improve road safety, reduce emissions, and reduce congestion.”
Cruise has also begun testing in Los Angeles and will soon begin in Nashville.