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Fully Autonomous Car Testing Coming to NYC

October 19, 2017

Screen shot of Cruise Automation self-driving car courtesy of Cruise Automation/YouTube.
Screen shot of Cruise Automation self-driving car courtesy of Cruise Automation/YouTube.

General Motors and Cruise Automation are applying to begin testing fully autonomous vehicles in New York State in early 2018, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.

The testing is planned for Manhattan, where mapping has begun in a geo-fenced area. An engineer will sit in the driver’s seat to monitor and evaluate the vehicle’s self-driving performance. A second person will be in the passenger seat.

“Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives, and we are proud to be working with GM and Cruise on the future of this exciting new technology,” Cuomo said in a released statement.

GM acquired Cruise Automation, a Silicon Valley company specializing in autonomous vehicle technology, in 2016. Cruise plans to begin building a team of employees in New York City.

New state legislation, included in the 2018 fiscal-year budget, allows for the testing of autonomous vehicle technology in New York through a pilot program. Cruise’s program represents the first time Level 4 autonomous vehicles will be tested in the state.

“Testing in New York will accelerate the timeline to deploying self-driving cars at scale,” said Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation. “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.”

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles and State Police will work with Cruise and GM to ensure all testing meets applicable safety, vehicle and insurance requirements, the governor’s office said.

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