Tech startup Cruise offers autonomous driving package for $10,000

Audi S4 Cruise
If you’re ready to give autonomous driving a shot, you may have a chance sooner than you thought. While Google and automotive giants like Mercedes and Audi are conducting thorough and expensive tests, a startup is aiming to beat everyone to the punch.

The startup in question is Cruise, and if you haven’t heard of them that’s because they just launched. Founded by a small group of young tech industry folks, Cruise aims to deliver an affordable, if somewhat limited autonomous driving package.

Cruise Button

The product dubbed RP-1 , designed to work on Audi A4s from 2012 on, allows the car to drive itself on the highway. A sensor pod is mounted on the roof and talks to a computer in the trunk, together these systems control throttle braking and steering.

The system isn’t smart or sophisticated enough to work on city roads, but it can handle traffic on the highway. Through a combination of detailed maps,  optics, and radar the Cruise RP-1 can navigate effectively, and is allegedly able to detect and respond to erratic and unsafe drivers.

Cruise Computer

All of this costs just $10,000, a significant savings on $100,000 autonomous systems built by Google; not that you can buy those anyway. Sounds good right?

Cruise might be impressive but it has some problems. For starters, this is not a huge upgrade on the active cruise control on many cars, and the more advanced systems on the Mercedes S-Class can already achieve a similar result. Second and more importantly this system is only legal to use in California, thanks to Google pushing for regulation of autonomous technology.

Cruise Sensor

In addition the optical systems used by this type of technology are not well proven in low visibility conditions, so you may not be able to use this in the fog or at night. Kind of a major downside when you consider that the notoriously foggy conditions of Silicon Valley, and the fact that it gets dark everywhere except maybe Las Vegas.

Then there is the question of liability, no one, not even the major automakers has clearly resolved who will be liable if and when such a system fails.

Still, the point of this early system isn’t actually to make money, after all Cruise is only delivering 50 in the first year – you can still reserve yours if you want. Instead as with any startup the early projects are designed to build interest so that you can get funding or get bought out. The big news here is that third parties may end up playing a serious role in this industry, or at least force the big fish to move more quickly.


With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Xbox One X vs. PlayStation 4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Café racer-inspired ebike hits 28 mph quickly and quietly with carbon belt drive

Ebike manufacturer Electra launched the Café Moto Go, an advanced ebike. The Café Moto Go's step-over frame was inspired by café racers. The Café Moto Go is a premium performance ebike built to run smoothly and extra quietly.

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.

Ford is keeping hackers out of its cars by putting key fobs to sleep

Ford found a way to stop thieves who try to hack their way into a car by duplicating its key fob. It developed a smart key fob that puts itself to sleep when it's idle for at least 40 seconds. It automatically wakes up when someone picks it…

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.

Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.
Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.