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.


Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Here’s how to install Windows on a Chromebook

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so, just in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only…

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.