It was the boss himself, Kyle Vogt, who made the announcement this Monday, September 12, at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology conference: Cruise will put its robotaxis into circulation in two cities in the United States. Austin and Phoenix will thus welcome a fleet of autonomous vehicles from the General Motors subsidiary.
The technical hiccup that has occurred in recent weeks now seems to be overcome. On August 29, Cruise proceeded to recall 80 of its robot taxis, after a software problem that led to minor injuries was detected.
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9 years after its creation, the advent of Cruise
Founded in 2013 before being acquired by General Motors in 2016, Cruise is therefore taking the final step in marketing its autonomous vehicles. Until now confined to life-size night tests in the streets of San Francisco, boss Kyle Vogt was enthusiastic: “ Today we are announcing for the first time that in the next 90 days, before the end of 2022, Cruise will be in service in two more markets, Phoenix and Austin. It will initially be a small-scale service, but full-scale operation of the driverless, revenue-generating model will follow next year. he said.
The entry into service of the General Motors subsidiary’s autonomous vehicles in two other American cities comes a few months after obtaining authorization to charge for journeys made in California, where they have so far been in testing since 2020.
General Motors has invested heavily in Cruise since its takeover. In 2018, the parent company invested by opening offices in Seattle, and launched a major engineering recruitment campaign. Four years later, In March 2022, GM bought out SoftBank’s equity stake for $2.1 billion; in addition to injecting $1.35 billion into it at the same time.
Objective for General Motors: conquest of the market
During the conference held on Monday, the CEO of Cruise laid down the plan for the years to come, counting on an annual turnover of 1 billion dollars by 2025: “ In 2024 and 2025, the question is how fast we can build autonomous vehicles. And this is the number one element that influences top line earnings. It’s quite simple, the more autonomous vehicles there are, the more potential revenue there is. If you don’t, you can’t make money, which is also related to profitability. Luckily, as you can see here, that’s something General Motors knows how to do. »
The market for self-driving cars is expected to intensify, as Cruise’s competitors are also in advanced stages of getting their fleets on the road. Still in the United States, Waymo, a subsidiary of Google, has already launched its vehicles on the streets of Phoenix, then San Francisco for a year now. In China, Baidu recently received the green light from the authorities to remove the security drivers from its robotaxis.