General Motors’ Cruise Automation division is aiming to open up an internal autonomous ride-hailing service to the public. Currently the service, called Cruise Anywhere is limited to employee use only in the San Fransisco area.
According to Automotive News the plan to offer the service to the public is still in the early stages. Thus far Cruise Automation spokespeople have declined to offer a timeline for when the public trials could start, but the company has confirmed it is looked at offering the service in several U.S. cities. Cruise did note to Automotive News that the service would require regulatory approval prior to rollout.
Cruise would be joining but a small handful of technology companies providing ride-hailing services in self-driving vehicles. Alphabet’s Waymo, Uber Technologies and startup nuTonomy are currently or are in the process of testing self-driving vehicles with public participants.
Cruise recently launched the Cruise Anywhere service for GM and Cruise employees to utilize in the San Fransisco area. The service is powered by specifically modified Chevrolet Bolt EV’s with self-driving capabilities. Despite the capabilities, law still requires a human to be behind the wheel in case of emergency.
GM and Cruise recently declare themselves as the first company with the capability to mass-produce fully-autonomous vehicles. It is likely this proclamation is serving as a precursor to Cruise offering their autonomous ride-hailing service to the public, which would undoubtedly require a much larger fleet of autonomous Bolt EV’s.
This proposed trial and GM’s investment into Lyft are all part of GM transitioning its own business model from producing vehicles to offering transportation services. The company acquired Cruise Automation in March 2016 and invested $500 million in Lyft in July 2016.
In addition to being heavily invested in Lyft, GM operates its own car-sharing service called Maven.