General Motors subsidiary Cruise has been using its self-driving prototypes to deliver meals to vulnerable citizens in San Francisco amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cruise has partnered with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and community outreach non-profit SF New Deal to help deliver food and meals to low-income senior citizens and other vulnerable San Franciscans. The partnership began on April 16th and since then, Cruise has managed to make 1,200 contactless food deliveries with its Chevrolet Bolt EV prototype vehicles and deliver a further 2,500 meals from local restaurants.
“The impact that Cruise’s support has had on SF New Deals operations has been tremendous,” said Lenore Estrada, SF New Deal Executive Director. “Cruise has provided delivery support to several sites that we are serving in collaboration with UCSF’s Division of Citywide Case Management, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, The San Francisco African American Faith Based Coalition, and the City of San Francisco’s Human rights Commission.”
While the delivery program is positive for the San Francisco community, it’s also a boost for Cruise. The company has been deemed an essential service due to its meal delivery efforts, so its Chevrolet Bolt EV prototypes can still drive around the city and collect data as the company prepares to launch the fully driverless Cruise Origin AV in a couple of years.
Cruise is not being compensated for its food delivery efforts and Cruise employees are volunteering their time to help support the San Francisco community.
“We had a fleet of all-electric, self-driving cars just sitting around–we thought this was a great way to put them to good use,” GM told Forbes in an emailed statement.
Thanks to Cruise’s delivery efforts, some of the pressure put on other meal delivery services in the city due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been relieved.
“The volunteers who have been freed up by the delivery resources Cruise is providing are now able to redirect their efforts to provide more support directly to our partner organizations, bring PPE to partner sites and restaurants, and seek out more sources of funding to provide even more meals to our neighbors in need here in San Francisco,” Estrada added.