GM’s Cruise To Expand Robotaxi Service To Phoenix and Austin1
GM’s autonomous driving technology division, Cruise, has announced that it will expand its robotaxi services to Phoenix, Arizona and Austin, Texas by the end of the 2022 calendar year
Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt announced the news via social media yesterday, posting that the Cruise team would go from “zero footprint in Austin,” or rather no test vehicles or maps, to fully driverless rides in roughly 90 days.
“We’ve been prepping for scaling the last couple years, glad to see that work paying off,” Vogt wrote.
Some fun news – @Cruise is bringing driverless rides to Austin and Phoenix later this year. pic.twitter.com/ZCSuVz3DwM
— Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) September 12, 2022
Cruise is currently operating a fleet of fully autonomous Chevy Bolt EVs in San Francisco, and began charging customers for rides over the summer. The autonomous robotaxis do not include an onboard human pilot, and currently only offer rides in the evening.
When Cruise begins its robotaxi services in Phoenix, it will compete against rival autonomous vehicle company Waymo, a division of Google, which is already charging customers for rides in Arizona.
Although Cruise is eyeing an expansion of operations into other states, the company is also contending with problems in California. As GM Authority reported in July, a Cruise Chevy Bolt EV was involved in a crash just one day after receiving a permit to begin charging passengers for rides. The incident resulted in minor injuries to occupants in both vehicles involved, with one passenger transported to the hospital.
Another incident earlier this year resulted in a Cruise AV pulled over by San Francisco police, while in yet another incident, a Cruise AV partially blocked the path of a San Francisco Fire Department vehicle headed to an emergency.
Last month, the NHTSA announced that it would extend a call for public input following a request made by GM to deploy a limited number of fully autonomous vehicles without human controls on public streets. Cruise is currently working towards the deployment of Cruise Origin, a dedicated all-electric robotaxi initially unveiled in 2020.
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Phoenix covers a very large area. Waymo is only in Mesa and I’m sure Cruise will also be confined to a very small area.