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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Cruise Launches Robotaxi Service Amid Controversy

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Image Credits: Cruise

Good news for tech-savvy Houstonians!

Cruise, GM's self-driving car subsidiary, has launched its robotaxi service in Houston, marking a significant expansion of its operations. However, this exciting development comes amidst increasing criticism of the company's operations in San Francisco, its first launch city.

The new service will operate seven days a week from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., covering about 11 square miles of Houston, including Downtown, Midtown, East Downtown, Montrose, Hyde Park and River Oaks neighbourhoods. With approximately 400 vehicles spread across Austin, Houston, Phoenix, and San Francisco, Cruise is making strides in the autonomous vehicle industry.

Cruise's journey in Texas started late last year with testing of its self-driving Chevy Bolts in Austin, followed by the addition of its purpose-built Origin vehicles in spring 2023. By May, Cruise began testing its robotaxis — initially with a human safety driver behind the wheel — in Houston and Dallas. The company then progressed to driverless testing, and from August, started offering driverless rides to Cruise employees and select friends and family.

Now, with the announcement of its Houston launch, customers can order a driverless robotaxi via the Cruise app, with a tempting offer of $5 flat fares for all trips for a limited time.

However, it's not all smooth sailing for Cruise. The company is facing backlash in San Francisco, where several incidents involving the robotaxis have raised safety concerns. Following a crash with a fire truck, Cruise was asked to reduce its fleet by 50% by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which is currently investigating the incidents.

Despite these challenges, Cruise's expansion into Houston marks a significant step forward in the autonomous vehicle industry. As the technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Cruise navigates the road ahead.

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