Gotham gets self-driving cars

GM Cruise Automation Chevy Bolt

Cruise's self-driving Chevrolet Bolts are coming to New York next year

Cruise Automation, a self-driving software company owned by General Motors, aims to begin testing in NY early next year.

Testing in NY is allowed under legislation included in the 2018 state budget.

If GM gets the green light, it would be the first to test "level 4" autonomous cars in the Big Apple. Each will have a safety driver on board, as they do in the current San Francisco test, but now they'll be tackling inclement four-season weather, as well as other drivers and pedestrians who are less laid back than their west coast counterparts.

Cruise and its corporate parent, General Motors, said Tuesday that they have applied to test Cruise's cars in crowded, traffic-intense Manhattan.

As if Manhattan's streets aren't insane enough, General Motors is placing self-driving cars - Chevy Bolts - on its roads starting next year.

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"Testing in NY will accelerate the timeline to deploying self-driving cars at scale", Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation, wrote in a statement. "With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce risky driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on NY roadways".

Cruise's customized Chevy Bolts - outfitted with radar, cameras and laser-based sensors - have become frequent sights in San Francisco.

Applications for testing may be submitted by manufacturers of "autonomous vehicle technology", or companies creating such technology working in conjunction with manufacturers. "We have a streetscape that is unrivaled in its scale and complexity, and so it's fitting that General Motors and Cruise Automation are finally bringing this technology here for testing and development".

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said in a statement, "New York is the ultimate proving ground for autonomous vehicle technology".

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