On Monday, the self-driving vehicle division of General Motors said that it would be expanding its robotaxi service, which had previously only been available in California, to the states of Arizona and Texas by the end of the year.
Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, has said that its CEO will begin offering robotaxi services in the cities of Phoenix, Arizona, and Austin, Texas, by the end of 2022.
The business has only launched its ride-hailing service in San Francisco, where it was granted permission to start charging riders early this year. That expansion took years, but Cruise claims it can bring its service to two more locations in only 90 days.
Testing of robotaxies has taken place in Phoenix, Arizona, thanks to the company’s collaboration with Walmart on grocery delivery. However, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said it was unusual that the company had not yet deployed cars in Austin.
Cruise Robotaxi CEO Comments
Cruise CEO Vogt added that
“In Phoenix, we’re building off our partnership with Walmart, an investor, and partner in Cruise. And as of a few weeks ago, actually, a few days ago, we got all the permits necessary for commercial ride-hail and delivery operations in Phoenix. So that business is getting going.”
When Cruise launches its ride-hailing service in Phoenix, it will face stiff competition from Waymo, a Google spin-off that has been charging riders in that city for some time. Waymo is also conducting trials of a for-fee robotaxi service in San Francisco.
Cruise had issued the day after gaining its authorization from California authorities to begin collecting fares, despite Vogt’s assurances to investors that the autonomous ride-hailing service in San Francisco is earning over many devoted users.
Cruise disclosed to regulators earlier this month that it has recalled 80 of its autonomous vehicles to have their software updated after one of the vehicles was involved in a crash that resulted in cuts and bruises.
He says, “In Austin, I’m excited about going from zero footprints — no map, no infrastructure on the ground — to our first revenue-generating driverless rides in about 90 days. This is something people thought may take years.”
In addition, this expands Cruise’s AV footprint to two locations where it currently exists. Waymo served the Phoenix suburbs for a long time, but the company has recently begun offering its services in the city. Supported by competitors to GM, including Ford and VW Group, Argo AI is now conducting pilot projects with business partners in the Austin area.
Vogt echoed Cruise’s assertions from the previous week that the company will expand swiftly and aggressively throughout the nation. The CEO also said Cruise and GM would begin increasing production of Cruise’s purpose-built AV, the Origin, to service new markets.
What is Cruise Robotaxi aiming for in the future?
Vogt estimating the future of Cruise robotaxi says that
“Looking at 2023, next year, things get interesting on the growth side. There’s gonna be thousands of AVs rolling out of the General Motors plant, including the first Origins. We’ll be using those to light up many more markets and to start to generate meaningful revenue in those markets.”
Techcrunch reported that Vogt claims Cruise will generate $1 billion in yearly sales by 2025. After debuting its commercial service in San Francisco, the firm brought in $25 million as Q2 2022 ended. The corporation spent $550 million more than it did in the same quarter a year ago, and its operational expenditures, at $605 million, more than quadrupled from the $332 million spent before.
Cruise’s expenditure will climb as the firm develops additional cars and enters new markets, but according to Vogt, the business has a plan to control expenses even as it grows. Cruise, for instance, has been developing proprietary semiconductors that can decrease power usage and system costs and charging and cleaning robots for the company’s AVs.