Cruise, the autonomous vehicle company backed by US-based General Motors (GM) and Japan’s Honda is set to begin the first international robotaxi service in Dubai in 2023.
The cruise will use its fully autonomous Origin vehicles, which it first introduced in 2019, as part of the ride-hailing service. The company has no plans to use its Chevy Bolt electric vehicles, which are now part of its San Francisco test fleet.
The Origin is designed to be a shared vehicle, so it won’t have any controls that are usually associated with human driving, such as a steering wheel or pedals, when it goes into production. Cruise said that the target is to increase the number of vehicles in Dubai to at least 4,000 by 2030.
Cruise is also planning to launch its commercial robotaxi service in San Francisco (US). The company had intended to launch a commercial service in its hometown in 2019, but it did not happen, and no new date has been set.
Beginning in 2022, the Cruise Origin will be manufactured at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck factory in the US. Due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on shared ride-hailing, the company recently announced a new set of safety guidelines aimed at keeping people socially distant during rides and the vehicle sanitized between fares.
Cruise is one of the world’s most well-capitalized autonomous vehicle companies. Japanese SoftBank, Honda, GM, T. Rowe Price Group, and Microsoft have all contributed to the company’s $7.4 billion in funding over the last three years. Currenty it’s valued at $30 billion.
Dubai could be an ideal location for Cruise’s self-driving cars. By 2030, the city wants 20 percent of its trips to be made in autonomous vehicles. Several urban air mobility firms, including Volocopter, have also been invited to test their electric aircraft in Emirate.