Cruise ‘Recalls’ Robotaxis After Crash, But The Recall Is The Wrong Mechanism


In June, Cruise had the first crash for an uncrewed robotaxi which caused injuries to 3rd parties, including a passenger and a person in the other vehicle. The Cruise vehicle was partly at fault.

In this article I outline the new details we have learned about the crash, but also discuss what it means for the future, and whether the use of a NHTSA "Recall" for this particular software update is the right idea.

Read more in the Forbes site story at Cruise ‘Recalls’ Robotaxis After Crash, But The Recall Is The Wrong Mechanism


Autonomous cars might always need people, according to Cruise’s CEO.

Cruise’s CEO Kyle Vogt was asked if he could see a point where remote human oversight could be removed from the company’s autonomous vehicle fleet. His surprising response: “Why?” Edge cases in autonomous driving often require human intervention to get around, and currently, Cruise uses a staff of remote human operators to help with those situations. Cruise previously has never mentioned that this will likely be a long-term solution, however, according to Reuters, Vogt’s statements make it clear that people will still be in the loop for a long time to come.

What is current ratio of remote operators to vehicles for Waymo or Cruise?

www dot theregister dot com/2022/09/27/gm_cruise_robocar_safety_waiver

Cruise net sales and revenue $25 million.

Cruise automated driving unit now expects revenue of $1 billion in 2025, said GM, which plans to begin operating a robotaxi service in three cities by the end of this year.

The automaker posted a loss of $497 million on Cruise during the quarter, with a cumulative year-to-date loss of $1.4 billion.

Cruise Oct 2021 quote: “In that first year, we’ll be building what can be measured in thousands, and in 2024 we’ll be thinking about things measured in tens of thousands”

But, today, Cruise now expects revenue of $1 billion in 2025, again, as of today.

Cruise COO Gil West in 2021:
Expects average fare to be just under $5 per mile.

500,000 miles a day X $5 per mile x 365 days equals $912 million assuming the week is evenly distributed. Other Cruise revenues raise the total to a billion.

If avearge mileage per fare trip is 6 miles, 80,000 fare rides per day.

Will a single vehicle stay on road continuously for at least 12-16 hous a day?

How many fares per hour per vehicle on a curve over the 24 hour cycle?
When does the bulk of the miles occur in a 24 hour day?

Will Dubai and Japan be operational in 2025 for Cruise?

Do the US regulations allow only 1500-2500 robotaxi AVs vehicles built/registered per year per company through 2025 in the US?

Will Cruise have maybe 3000-4000 Origins operational in fleet in 2025.

Nevertheless, take a guess.

80,000 fare rides per day by in 2025?

What specific companies is Vogt referring to? The universe of robotaxi operators is not that big. Given Mobileye robotaxi launches Israel and Germany have yet occurred, Vogt seems to be referring to Mobileye as an example.

Kyle Vogt on Cruise Progress
Here is what Kyle Vogt said on Cruise Progress during GM's earnings call this morning:

" Overall, we remain largely on track for our goals this year, including expansion in San Francisco and the goal we announced in September, to begin commercial driverless operation in two new markets. We've now driven well over 400,000 fully driverless miles in San Francisco and given thousands of rides to members of the public, and we expect to expand our service area and hours of operation soon. We believe this is now the largest, fastest-growing and most successful commercial robotaxi service in existence and by a large margin.

We've done this while building up a solid track record around safety, especially our safety culture, which drives our decision-making and approach to responsible EV deployment. Our product experience is getting better all the time, and we see this reflected in increased adoption and in many rave reviews we receive across both our ride-hail and delivery operations.

As you may recall, we plan to do early commercialization in 2021 and 2022, and we have. Next year marks the beginning of our rapid scaling phase where we plan to churn through the backlog of users waiting to use our service, ramp up our operations and start to generate meaningful revenue.

As for our new markets, Austin and Phoenix, we remain on track to complete our first commercial driverless public rides and deliveries by the end of the year. This will begin at limited scale initially and ramp up as we produce more vehicles. Our current status is that our mapping systems worked as expected, and we've started supervised testing in Austin with more than a dozen vehicles.

As we had hoped, we're finding that most of our AV systems generalize well to new markets and for the handful of things that are unique to Austin, I've seen donkeys, petty cabs, police on horses, our continuous learning machine is able to automatically mine for these unusual things and then retrain our neural networks to better handle those situations. The same technology is already in use in San Francisco and will be used in all other markets, so that our AV system will continuously adapt to changes that occur within that market, such as new kinds of scooters or predominance of HUMMER EVs or however else cities might change.

As for the industry, we're seeing increased separation between the company's operating commercial driverless services and those that are still stuck in the trough of disillusionment. What's happening here is that the companies with the best product have pulled ahead and are accelerating. The best talent follows the best products, and those people are what makes a company great. They have a highly vested interest in identifying and moving to the clear winners, and they're good at it. This virtuous cycle fuels the growth of the leaders and stunts the progress of the laggards. And it happens not just with talent, but also with suppliers, partnerships and investors. And you've seen this play out at Cruise with us pulling in timing and expanding scale, which is an anomaly in an industry that is dominated by delayed milestones and missed targets."

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