Cruise is going to launch an autonomously driving service in the United Arab Emirates. Just a few weeks after Cruise launched its commercial operations in San Francisco, the company sent two of its electric vehicles to the Middle East to start mapping the city.
In April of last year, Cruise signed a partnership agreement with the RTA to open a robotaxi service there as part of the plan to convert 25% of total transportation trips in the U.S. to self-driving trips by the year 2030. Cruise was chosen as the exclusive provider ofrobotaxi for the duration of 2029.
The two Chevy Bolts, which began mapping operations Sunday, will initially be deployed in the Jumeirah area of the city, a residential strip along the beach and driven by humans. Cruise uses lidar, radar and cameras to collect data about the car's surroundings to create a virtual map for the driver.
Why LFP batteries are poised to bring down entry-level EV prices
The company has said previously that it will use Cruise Origins, a shuttle that has no steering wheel or pedals, in the city. The director-general of the RTA said in a statement that he would like to have 4,000 Cruise Origins in the city.
According to a Cruise spokesman, Cruise doesn't currently have any Origins in operation, and only built one for closed course testing. The company didn't reply in time for requests for more information, but it's likely Cruise will use the Chevy Bolts.
It is not clear what the process of achieving a self-driving service will look like in the United Arab Emirates. Cruise opened up a free service to employees and the public in San Francisco after testing its cars with drivers behind the steering wheel. Cruise started charging for rides with drivers behind the wheel while simultaneously testing its fleet with no drivers. The public was first allowed to use the service, before the company was able to charge fees.
Much of the process was determined by California's strict regulatory environment around testing and deployment. In order to set a global example for policy and legislation regarding self-driving transport, the city is taking an aggressive approach to integrating self-driving transport across all modes of public transport.