Thus far, GM has not offered details on where we can expect self-driving cars to first enter service, likely via its Cruise Automation subsidiary. But, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that San Francisco may be ground zero for GM’s electric-car operations. The speculation comes after the automaker opened a large electric-car charging station near San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
It’s a high-traffic area where Uber and Lyft do a lot of business, making it a prime location for GM Cruise’s own ride-hailing service. Cruise has been testing its Cruise Anywhere ride-hailing application, which has riders request a self-driving car, and then shuttles them to their desired location.
Grayson Brulte, co-founder of autonomy consulting firm Brulte & Co., said GM’s investment in the area is absolutely a sign that the Bay Area is on deck for self-driving cars before other areas.
“It’s an indication that Cruise is getting ready to commercialize autonomous ride-hailing services for the public and it will be in San Francisco,” he said. “I imagine they would want to own and operate the service.”
GM could also partner with Lyft or Uber to roll out its self-driving cars, but a spokesperson told Bloomberg GM hasn’t decided on owning the service outright or finding partners.
Cruise has added incredible value to GM stock and the subsidiary received a major boost last May. Japan’s SoftBank poured $2.25 billion into the unit with a portion of the investment contingent upon commercializing self-driving cars.