General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary Cruise is testing its self-driving ride-hailing service by allowing its employees to request rides in San Francisco. The company allowed 10% of its San Francisco workforce to download a private app, similar to Uber, called Cruise Anywhere and intends to make the service available to a larger number of employees in the city. The company employs over 200 people in San Francisco.
Since the project is still in early stages, a driver is present in each of the self-driving Chevy Bolts during the rides in order to ensure safety. Until now, the autonomous driving cars have carried out over 1,000 rides.
Although Cruise still hasn’t decided when it will launch the project to a wider market, the company believes its self-driving ride-hailing services will be available to consumers within several months. Still, GM’s self-driving arm hasn’t specified whether it will launch its own app or partner with a ride-hailing company to offer autopilot rides.
“We’re really excited about how the technology is evolving, and the rate at which it’s evolving. This is a manifestation of that – putting the app in people’s hands and having them use it for the first time and make (autonomous vehicles) their primary form of transportation,”Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt said.
In 2016, Uber began testing autonomous driving vehicles in Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Other companies which have started testing offering self-driving rides include Google’s Waymo, as well as nuTonomy. In April, Waymo announced it will offer free rides to customers in order to test its self-driving Lexus SUVs and Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Meanwhile, nuTonomy partnered with Peugeot and introduced autonomous taxis Peugeot 3008 in Singapore in order to test the technology.