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Cruise Launches Soft Robotaxi Rides in Phoenix and Austin • InNewCL

Cruise Launches Soft Robotaxi Rides in Phoenix and Austin • InNewCL

#Cruise #Launches #Soft #Robotaxi #Rides #Phoenix #Austin #InNewCL Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

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Cruise has gently rolled out its robotaxi service in Phoenix and Austin, setting itself a deadline to enter two new markets before the end of 2022. The GM-backed company has only previously operated its ridehail service in San Francisco, where it rolled out its full driverless commercial service over the summer.

“Both in Phoenix and Austin we conducted our first paid rides for the public,” tweeted Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. “As in SF, we started with a small service area and will gradually expand it. But since we’ve already done this in SF, it will be much faster in these new cities.”

These members of the public will be “friends and family” of Cruise employees, who are the only ones who will have access to the company’s ridesharing service initially. Members of the general public will take their turn, but Cruise hasn’t given a timeline for when the service will open. Cruise opened a waitlist for Austin and Phoenix in late October and should offer rides once there are enough vehicles to meet demand, a spokesman told The Verge.

Cruise has not revealed its launch areas in either city, nor times of day. It’s also not clear if the rides Cruise is offering will initially be entirely driverless, or if they’ll put a safety human driver behind the wheel to launch.

The AV company will have to contend with Waymo in Phoenix, which recently doubled its downtown service area and offered the public driverless rides to the airport. Waymo has been operating a commercial robotaxi service in the Phoenix area since 2018, specifically Chandler.

We promised we would be driving driverless in 3 cities by the end of this year and WE DID IT! @Cruise is now live in SF, Austin and Phoenix.

Folks, we’re entering the golden years of AV expansion.

More about this launch:

— Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) December 20, 2022

Vogt was excited to celebrate that it took years to get to market in San Francisco but only weeks to break into new territories.

“In Austin, we went from zero infrastructure (no maps, charging, test vehicles, etc.) to a fully operational driverless service in about 90 days,” he tweeted. “We at Cruise invest heavily in tools for engineering efficiency, so it only took a few weeks to collect data for the retraining [machine learning] models and see that the performance meets our goals. This process is becoming increasingly automated and in some cases requires no engineer intervention.”

Excitement about technological advances aside, no autonomous system is perfect, and Cruise literally faces obstacles.

Videos and images have surfaced on social media showing cruise robotic taxis blocking traffic, getting stuck at intersections and having strange interactions with law enforcement. Last week, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration launched an investigation into the company after learning of incidents in which Cruise’s robotic taxis “may have braked unreasonably hard or become immobilized while operating on public roads.”

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