AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES: Technology startup preparing to introduce aftermarket self-driving kit

Installations of new system to begin in early 2015, two to five years ahead of major manufacturers’ timeline

June 25, 2014

Motorists anxious to own a self-driving car may not have to wait much longer thanks to San Francisco-based startup Cruise, which is taking pre-orders for its new aftermarket self-driving kit. Each unit will cost $10,000, with installations expected to start early in 2015.

Cruise has already conducted extensive testing on newer Audis in the Bay Area, following exhaustive road mapping. According to Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, cars equipped with the technology can follow curves in the road, maintain position in a lane and accelerate or brake to keep up with traffic.

The system is driven by a roof-mounted sensor pod featuring various cameras and radar equipment. All information is relayed to the control unit in the trunk of the car, and a series of actuators adjust steering, braking and acceleration.

The aftermarket system will be one of the first pieces of self-driving technology to hit the consumer market, ahead of major manufacturers like Google and others working to create fully self-driving vehicles. Google plans to offer self-driving vehicles to the public between 2017 and 2020.

Vogt said Cruise will release 50 units during the initial consumer offering. The company also plans to experiment with integrating the technology into other vehicle makes and models.