Cruise to be Dubai’s exclusive self-driving taxi provider

The GM-backed self-driving car developer signed an exclusive agreement with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority to operate a fleet of taxis.

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Cruise is setting its sights abroad for the first time after years of testing its self-driving vehicle technology in the US. The GM-backed autonomous vehicle developer is looking to make Dubai the first city outside of the United States in which it will operate, according to a joint announcement from Cruise and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, crown prince of Dubai. 

The Cruise rollout in Dubai will see the company operating a fleet of robotic taxis as early as 2023. This will go along with Dubai’s plan to reduce pollution and save transportation costs through the use of autonomous vehicles by 2030.

According to the agreement signed between Cruise and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, Cruise will be the sole partner in the emirate for self-driving vehicles until at least 2029. That could be a massive leg up for Cruise in building out its network. And Dubai plans to have upward of 4,000 robotaxis in service in the city by 2030.

The Dubai robotaxi service will use Cruise’s purpose-built Origin electric vehicles, rather than the modified Chevrolet Bolts that we most often see the coming testing with in the US. Details on the Origin are a bit thin still, but we know that it will be powered by GM EV technology and that it’s geared toward Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy, given its lack of any driver controls.

Despite the seemingly tight timeline for Cruise to get up and running in Dubai, we still expect to see some commercialized variant of its service to debut in the US before that time — likely in San Francisco. More

By Kyle Hyatt https://www.cnet.com/