General Motors’ Cruise Automation Postpones Robotaxi Service Launch

File:Cruise Automation Bolt EV
A Cruise Automation Chevrolet Bolt, third generation, seen in San Francisco. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dllu(CC BY-SA 4.0))

Cruise Automation is General Motors' subsidiary that aims to develop and put into the production of driverless taxis. The company is also planning to deploy a whole fleet of taxis that are completely driverless. Recently, Cruise Automation confirmed that it is postponing the official launch of its robotaxi service. The subsidiary did not provide any reason or cause for the delay, and it also did not provide a timeline as to when it plans to reschedule the launch.

Cruise Automation plans to embed its technology and driverless taxis into a ride-hailing service. Based on the company's latest announcement, it would appear that customers will have to wait a little longer for this to happen as it plans to postpone its original launch.

In a post, Cruise Automation chief executive officer Dan Ammann said that the company's fleet of driverless vehicles need to get more test miles before they can release them into the real world. He added that the company plans to further improve its car tests and validations for the remainder of the year. This could mean that the company will not be able to launch its service up until next year.

It is important to note here that Cruise Automation has been conducting real-world tests for several years now. The company's modified Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles have been in testing in various California streets for three years now.

Cruise Automation has already unveiled the flagship vehicle that it plans to utilize once it launches its ride-hailing platform. Simply called the Cruise AV, it is a heavily modified Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle and it features no driver hardware at all. The car is designed to carry two passengers.

It is still unknown whether Cruise Automation will be allowed to launch these driverless vehicles since, as of this writing, only Waymo has received a California permit to test fully driverless cars.

Cruise Automation's technology has caught the investment eyes of General Motors, and the car manufacturer decided to acquire the company for $1 billion in 2016. In March, Cruise Automation announced that it is hiring engineers and programmers in a bid to improve its technology further. A couple of months following that, the company received an additional $1.15 billion in funding from a group of investors including Honda, T. Rowe Price, and SoftBank Vision Fund. This new funding round raised the company's valuation to a neat $19 billion.

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