What’s Happening: Cruise, a self-driving car company owned by General Motors, has released its latest software update for its driverless fleet in San Francisco. The new update includes expanded capabilities such as new right turn maneuvers, additional pick-up and drop-off locations, and improvements to its driving smoothness, among other things.
Why It Matters: The latest software update from Cruise is a significant milestone in the development of self-driving cars. By expanding the capabilities of its driverless fleet, Cruise is improving the overall rider experience, making it more convenient and efficient. Additionally, the expanded pick-up and drop-off locations in tighter spaces and along additional narrow roads will allow more people to use the service, thereby reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions. The improvements in driving smoothness and behavior around traffic light intersections will also make the driving experience safer and more comfortable for riders.
- The new software update includes new right turn capabilities, which opens up about 700 new intersections in SF, improving trip routes and trip times for riders.
- The update also includes additional maneuvers such as turning from outer-turn lanes and driving in merge lanes, which increases the reachable streets by 8% and unlocks future expansion of the service area in denser areas of SF.
- Expanded pick-up and drop-off locations have been added to allow riders to get picked up and dropped off closer to their requested destination, even in tighter spaces and along additional narrow roads.
- The update includes the introduction of SURF Plus, which provides remote advisors with expanded real-time information and maneuverability, resulting in fewer trip interruptions.
- TSEL v11 has also been shipped, which improved driving smoothness while going around double-parked vehicles, stopping, following lead cars, and making unprotected left turns. Additionally, lane-following and behavior around traffic light intersections have been improved.
- Core behavior improvements were shipped, resulting in 23% more reliable traversal in narrow gaps.
- VRU MTL v2.1 now detects pedestrian visual attention, improves behavior around humans controlling traffic by 8%, improves VRU sub-classification by 10%, and increases detection of pedestrians in non-standing poses by ~6%.
Bottom Line: Cruise’s March 2023 software update for its driverless fleet in San Francisco is a significant step forward in the development of self-driving cars. The expanded capabilities, including new maneuvers, additional pick-up and drop-off locations, and improvements to driving smoothness and behavior around traffic light intersections, will improve the overall rider experience and make the driving experience safer and more comfortable. The addition of SURF Plus and VRU MTL v2.1 will also provide remote advisors with expanded real-time information and improve behavior around pedestrians, making the service more reliable and efficient.