Cruise's self-driving electric shuttle is made for ridesharing

The Origin is 'a new beginning for transportation.'

Cruise still isn't ready to say when its autonomous vehicle will be available, but now it's shown off the Origin, a GM-built electric shuttle van that doesn't have a steering wheel or pedals. Instead it's fully self-driving, intended to be a shareable, modular vehicle that can handle being on the road all the time.

It's basically a minibus, with three seats at each end that face each other and split sliding doors that open up like a subway car. Cruise hasn't revealed details like the battery capacity or cost, but claims that "the average San Franciscan household driving themselves or using ridesharing" will see savings of $5,000 per year thanks to the vehicle.

According to execs, more information on manufacturing for this "production" vehicle will be coming soon. Also, because of its modular design, they think it will be better suited for use as a robotaxi than regular passenger cars, and that its sensors will have "superhuman" ability to spot pedestrians and navigate in bad weather. They claim it's "what you'd build if there were no cars." Lofty promises -- hopefully we'll find out soon how the company plans to fulfill them. Others, including Ford, Waymo, Uber and Tesla, just to name a few, are also chasing the autonomous-cars-as-a-service model in different ways, and it's still unclear who may get their first.