Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company backed by General Motors, revealed a wheelchair-accessible robotaxi that it says could start picking up disabled passengers as soon as next year.
The reveal of the newly accessible robotaxi is a major step toward fulfilling the dream of people with vision, hearing, and mobility impairments, who have long held out hope that autonomous vehicles represent a new way of getting around.
The vehicle is a version of Cruise’s fully driverless, shuttle-sized Origin vehicles, which lack traditional controls like steering wheel and pedals. It has been modified to include a retractable ramp, as well as added space inside and floor clamps for wheelchair users. The vehicle is the product of three years of development and testing between Cruise, GM, and its partners in accessible vehicle design at BraunAbility and Q’Straint. The company also consulted with its advisory council on accessibility, which includes dozens of advocates.