The not-a-car sits on the gleaming black stage surrounded by a halo of light. It’s orange and black and white, and roughly the same size as a crossover SUV, but somehow looks much larger from the outside. There is no obvious front to the vehicle, no hood, no driver or passenger side windows, no side-view mirrors. The symmetry of the exterior is oddly comforting. I am one of the first non-employees to see it, after being invited by self-driving company Cruise to come out to San Francisco for an early look. And what I see is a car. A weird-looking car, sure, but a car nonetheless. That’s what my brain tells me. But the company insists I’m not seeing what I’m seeing. One employee refers to it as “the property.” It’s easier to describe what it’s not, rather than what it is. For example, it doesn’t look like a toaster on wheels, as some autonomous “people movers” tend to do. A microwave might be more accurate, but I’m not convinced. Its official name is “Origin,” and Kyle Vogt, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Cruise, is clearly excited to be showing it off. With a broad smile, he reaches… Read full this story
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