Tech

GM’s Cruise tests robotaxis again in Dallas

GM’s Cruise is redeploying a small fleet of robo-taxis in Dallas this week as part of the company’s previously stated goal of validating its autonomous driving systems and regaining public trust.

Dallas is the second city Cruise is slowly returning to after pulling out its entire U.S. fleet late last year, following an incident that left a pedestrian hit and dragged by a Cruise robotaxi in San Francisco.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles immediately suspended Cruise’s operating licenses in the state following the crash and the revelation that Cruise executives mishandled communications about what happened that day with state and federal regulators.

Dallas’ fleet will be small — just three vehicles — and they won’t yet carry passengers or drive fully autonomously. Like Cruise did in Phoenix in April, human operators will manually drive the cars around Dallas so they can collect map and road data. Ultimately, Cruise will expand into supervised driving “measured against predetermined safety criteria,” according to a Cruise spokesperson who did not specify what those criteria are.

Cruise had just begun testing its robotaxis in Dallas when the San Francisco incident led the company to ground its entire fleet. Cruise had also launched limited robotaxi service in Austin and Houston, making it a pioneer in the robotaxi space in Texas.

As TechCrunch has previously speculated, Texas could be the next battleground state for commercial adoption of autonomous vehicles. The state is already a hub for testing autonomous trucks, due to its clear, sunny skies and favorable legislative landscape.

That said, Cruise will likely try to relaunch in California, where it is based, to compete with Alphabet’s Waymo. Earlier this year, Waymo got the green light to operate commercially on highways in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The DMV confirmed to TechCrunch in April that Cruise was in contact with the agency to begin the reinstatement process.

Cruise hasn’t shared details about its rollout strategy, but one thing is clear: Cruise is opting for a slow and steady approach after its previous aggressive launch strategy resulted in accusations that Cruise was growing too quickly and taking security shortcuts.

techcrunch

Back to top button