GM autonomous vehicle (AV) and robotaxi subsidiary Cruise Automation should achieve or surpass the $1 billion annual revenue threshold it wants to attain by 2025, according to a new statement from its CEO. In addition, some third party analysts currently agree that its ambitious objective is possible.
Chief executive Kyle Vogt told Automotive News that Cruise is currently scaling up its operations to the point where this revenue level will be possible within the targeted timeframe.
Vogt said Cruise’s efforts are currently focused on planning “how to set up new markets, crank up the volume of vehicles, get ready for the Origin, [and] make sure all of our support systems handle that kind of volume” to ready itself for much larger operations across an expanding lineup of cities.
Cruise is advancing past testing to preparing for growth as it expects to start manufacturing and deploying its driverless Cruise Origin robotaxi on a commercial scale. The Cruise Origin is a blocky vehicle with two rows of passenger seats facing each other and sliding side doors for ingress and egress. The final version will be fully automated and will not include a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals, or any other human-usable driving controls.
Cruise has built several Cruise Origin units with centrally-located driver controls for testing purposes. Originally deployed only in San Francisco, the human-operated Origin test vehicles recently expanded road testing to Austin, Texas.
However, large-scale deployment and production of the Cruise Origin depends on NHTSA approval. The lack of standard driving controls in the self-driving, mass-production version of the Origin means it violates current NHTSA safety regulations. The NHTSA will need to issue an exemption for the fully driverless Origin before it can be deployed on public streets.
The Cruise Origin won’t be the first AV Cruise operates on American streets. The current Cruise AV, a modified version of the Chevy Bolt EV, is self-driving, but includes the original steering wheel and pedals, meeting NHTSA regulations in regard to these controls.
Cruise runs a fleet of 300 Cruise AVs in San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix, Arizona. The company’s Bolt EV robotaxis have accumulated 1,000,000 driverless miles without any major injuries or deaths, making them statistically much safer than human-driven vehicles. However, GM recently recalled all 300 units of the AV after an empty robotaxi crashed into an articulated bus.
Cruise CEO Vogt remains confident Cruise is “reaching scale and driving that top-line revenue and path to profitability,” a confidence shared by GM CEO Mary Barra. In regard to the AV ride-hailing market, Barra says, “We’re here. It’s happening now.” She added, “now’s not the time to take the foot off the accelerator.”
Vogt noted the key ingredient to Cruise’s rapid planned expansion is the Cruise Origin. With its ground-up autonomous EV engineering, cost-saving design, and built-in long-term durability, the Origin will significantly lower the ongoing costs of operating a robotaxi fleet and make large-scale, rapid growth across many additional cities feasible.
As a reminder, the Cruise Origin is based on the GM BEV3 platform. Power and motivation are supplied to the robotaxi by Ultium Battery technology and Ultium Drive motors, while production, when it begins, will take place at the Factory Zero plant.