Cruise Launches Robotaxi Service In Houston, Expands Amidst Criticism In San Francisco


GM’s subsidiary Cruise, a self-driving car technology company, has announced the opening of its robotaxi service in Houston, Texas. The expansion to Houston comes as Cruise faces increasing criticism over its operations in its first launch city, San Francisco.

Key Takeaway

Cruise, GM’s self-driving car subsidiary, has launched its robotaxi service in Houston, Texas. Despite facing criticism and scrutiny in San Francisco, Cruise aims to expand its operations and offer driverless rides to customers in Houston’s downtown areas.

Expanding Operations in Houston

Cruise’s robotaxi service in Houston will operate seven days a week from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. within an 11-square-mile area that includes Downtown, Midtown, East Downtown, Montrose, Hyde Park, and River Oaks neighborhoods. The company currently has around 400 vehicles deployed across Austin, Houston, Phoenix, and San Francisco.

While Cruise does not disclose the exact number of vehicles in each city, it typically starts with a small fleet of around a dozen vehicles and then scales up based on demand.

Cruise expanded into Texas last year, initially testing its self-driving Chevy Bolts in Austin. The company later introduced its purpose-built Origin vehicles in spring 2023. In May, Cruise commenced testing robotaxis in Houston and Dallas, initially with a human safety driver. Subsequently, they moved to driverless testing, where the human safety operator is no longer behind the wheel. In August, Cruise started offering driverless rides to its employees and select friends and family.

With the launch of the Cruise app in Houston, customers can now order a driverless robotaxi. To entice users, Cruise is offering a limited-time promotion of $5 flat fares for all trips.

Criticism in San Francisco

While Cruise expands its operations in Houston, it faces backlash in San Francisco. Citizens and city officials have raised concerns about the readiness of Cruise’s robotaxis for commercial operation following several incidents involving the vehicles.

Following a collision with a fire truck, Cruise reduced its robotaxi fleet in San Francisco by 50%. This reduction was requested by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which regulates the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles in the state. The agency is currently investigating the incidents involving Cruise vehicles and has mandated the reduced fleet size until the investigation is complete.

In another incident, a woman was struck by a human-driven vehicle and subsequently trapped under a Cruise robotaxi. The incident was captured in a video, showing the sequence of events leading up to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *