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Origin of the Species

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP05_09
Published May 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

The GM-Honda-Cruise Automation partnership has created an innovative AV that enters production in 2022. Chief engineer Jason Fischer explains.

“I was a vehicle-dynamics engineer my entire career-but maybe not a good one, because they put me in charge of a self-driving car!” jokes Jason Fischer, chief engineer for the Cruise Origin, the autonomous vehicle co-developed by General Motors, Honda and Cruise Automation, GM's self-driving division. The electric, six-passenger AV is designed for SAE Level 4 driverless duty-it has no steering wheel or pedals. Origin is slated to begin mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) pilot operations, on geo-fenced routes, soon after production starts at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck plant in early 2022. It is engineered for a 1-million-mile (1.6-million-km) duty cycle.

Fischer, a 21-year GM engineering veteran, is responsible for coordinating the tri-partite development partnership, including a cross-functional team of about 300 at GM. He spoke with SAE's Autonomous Vehicle Engineering at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan. Highlights of our conversation, some of which included Origin design director Stuart Norris, follow.