Cruise, a self-driving technology company majority owned by General Motors, will expand its fledgling robotaxi service to two more U.S. cities in the coming months, CEO Kyle Vogt said last week in a Twitter post.
He said Cruise robotaxis with a supervisor behind the wheel will start driving in Dallas and Houston within days, and that the service will go live in the next few months.
Cruise's robotaxi service was launched in early 2022 in San Francisco, where the company is headquartered, and quickly expanded to Austin and Phoenix later that year.
While the service now operates around the clock in San Francisco, in other areas it is limited in the hours it can operate. It also is limited to routes that minimize risky maneuvers, like pulling out into traffic. The service will likely also be rolled out in a limited fashion in the new cities.
Tweet by Kyle Vogt on May 10, 2023
The robotaxis are still based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, though Cruise plans to eventually add a dedicated vehicle known as the Origin, prototypes for which are being tested.
Cruise's self-driving system ranks at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability, as it is limited in areas in which it operate. The final goal is Level 5, where a self-driving car is able to operate at the same level as a human.
While Level 5 might be a decade or more away, a handful of companies are already offering commercial services involving Level 4 cars. In addition to Cruise, Waymo has been running a robotaxi service in Phoenix and San Francisco for the past few years, and is currently testing the service in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, China's Baidu continues to expand its Apollo Go service in Chinese cities.