Houstonians may soon be sharing the road with completely self-driving cars

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Houstonians weigh-in on self-driving car being tested around city
Houstonians may soon be sharing the road with Cruise vehicles, a subsidiary of General Motors, that drives with no one behind the wheel.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the not-so-distant future, you might be driving around Houston and pull up to an unusual sight - a vehicle with absolutely nobody behind the wheel.

Cruise is a subsidiary of General Motors and is already being used in San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix.

The self-driving, fully electric vehicles are currently being tested in Houston.

A spokesperson said the ones currently traveling around the city are driving themselves, but there's someone behind the steering wheel in case something goes wrong.

SEE ALSO: New task force will promote self-driving cars in Texas

That person will no longer be needed should the concept pass the testing phase, and the company said that could happen sooner than you think. But they didn't provide a specific timeline.

"Lord have mercy. Absolutely not," Houstonian Janet Joshua said. "I wouldn't like to be around a car that drives itself."

You can think of Cruise in a similar vein to Uber or Lyft, as they're used to give rides or deliver food.

Alasia Harvey isn't completely against the concept, though she has her reservations.

"You get to just be on your phone," Harvey of Cruise's benefits said. "The cons? There could be a malfunction to the car."

There have been issues, such as one of the vehicles stalling out on a San Francisco street for hours earlier this month.

ABC13 asked Cruise about that, and they said it's a safety measure where the car stops if it senses a coming malfunction. They said the car would generally pull to the side of the road, but the narrow street it was on didn't allow for such a courtesy.

A Cruise vehicle was also involved in a crash with a San Francisco bus in March, according to our partners at the Houston Chronicle.

"It's a bit alarming to me," Dominique Williams said. "I don't feel that motor vehicles are a place where we should experiment with that type of technology where people could lose their lives if the technology is flawed in some way."

Cruise issued the following statement responding to safety concerns from the public.

"Cruise's safety record is publicly reported and includes having driven nearly 700,000 fully autonomous miles in an extremely complex urban environment with zero life-threatening injuries or fatalities."

These vehicles are currently driverless and operational in San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix.

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