New York State confirms plans for fully autonomous vehicle testing in 2018

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that General Motors and Cruise Automation are applying to begin testing vehicles operating in fully autonomous mode from early 2018.

Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives
— Governor Andrew Cuomo

Mapping has already begun in a geofenced area of Manhattan, to prepare for the sustained testing of Cruise’s vehicles at Level 4 autonomy. Each vehicle will have an engineer in the driver’s seat to monitor the vehicle’s performance, with another person in the passenger seat.

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

“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.”

“New York is the ultimate proving ground for autonomous vehicle technology. We have a streetscape that is unrivaled in its scale and complexity,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

The announcement comes after the state included new laws in its 2018 budget allowing for testing autonomous vehicle technology during a year-long pilot programme.

“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,” said Governor Cuomo.