Cruise is expanding beyond San Francisco for its robotaxi ambitions. Meanwhile, General Motor’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary which has backing from SoftBank Vision Fund, Microsoft, and Honda, has struck a deal to launch a robotaxi service in Dubai by 2023.
In Dubai, the robotaxi service will use the Cruise Origin which is an all-electric shuttle and is similar to a vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals. The shuttle is designed to travel at highway speeds.
The Origin will be manufactured by GM which was originally unveiled in January 2020.
The cruise will establish a new local company based in Dubai which will be responsible for the operation, deployment, and maintenance of the fleet.
Initially, the service will start with a limited number of vehicles. In the coming year, it will be scaled up to a capacity of 4,000 vehicles by 2030. It will be a part of Dubai’s self-driving transport strategy sad the director-general and chairman of the board of the RTA, according to Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer.
Eventually, the robotaxis service will be introduced gradually and limited to specific areas. It will then expand to other parts of the city.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Dubai’s Crown Prince, said the agreement with Cruise is a “major step towards realizing Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25% of total trips in Dubai into self-driving transport trips across different modes of transport by 2030.”
Importantly, Cruise has a lock on Dubai and under the agreement, the company is the “exclusive provider” for self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services until 2029.