GM, Cruise, And Honda To Launch Robotaxi Service In Japan


In a landmark partnership, General Motors (GM), Cruise, and Honda have announced their plans to launch a cutting-edge robotaxi service in Japan. This collaboration will be facilitated through a newly formed joint venture, which aims to introduce autonomous vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo by early 2026.

Key Takeaway

GM, Cruise, and Honda are teaming up to launch a revolutionary robotaxi service in Japan. This collaboration aims to introduce autonomous Cruise Origin vehicles to Tokyo’s streets by early 2026, with plans to eventually expand the service area. This partnership builds upon the companies’ existing relationship and signifies their shared vision for innovating the automotive industry. Despite recent challenges, including investigations by NHTSA and the San Francisco Police Department, Cruise remains dedicated to advancing autonomous driving technology.

Preparing for a Landmark Launch

The prestigious GM, Cruise, and Honda joint venture intends to kickstart its innovative robotaxi service in central Tokyo. The initial launch will feature dozens of Cruise Origin vehicles, purpose-built for autonomous transportation. As the service gains traction and proves its worth, the fleet is projected to expand, incorporating up to 500 Cruise Origins. Moreover, the companies envision scaling their service beyond the borders of central Tokyo, captivating a more extensive audience.

A Vision Shared

During a press event preceding the Japan Mobility Show 2023 in Tokyo, executives from GM, Cruise, and Honda, including GM CEO Mary Barra, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, and Honda Global CEO Toshihiro Mibe, together conveyed their excitement for this momentous endeavor. While Barra joined virtually, the others were present in person to mark the occasion.

Barra expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “We see a huge opportunity in Japan, as it has the potential to be one of the largest AV markets in the world given the current high demand for taxis. The region also has a growing need for new forms of transportation, with driver shortages and an increasing need for accessible forms of transportation.”

Long-Standing Collaboration

This collaboration between GM, Cruise, and Honda builds upon their well-established partnership, which began in 2013 with the joint development of hydrogen fuel cell systems. The Cruise Origin, the result of a multi-year collaboration between GM and Honda, was unveiled in January 2020. This feat was shortly followed by the joint announcement of plans to co-develop affordable electric vehicles, anticipated to launch in North America by 2027.

“Our three companies developed the Origin together because we know it takes strong, dedicated companies with unique skillsets and a clear vision partnering on one common goal,” commented Barra, emphasizing the power of their collaboration.

Advancing Progress Amidst Challenges

This decision to introduce the Cruise Origin to Japan arrives amidst a year of significant growth, notable milestones, and a few challenges for Cruise in San Francisco. Despite opposition arising from recent incidents involving pedestrians, Cruise has made substantial strides. Over the past year, the company has expanded operations to 24/7 service in San Francisco, launched robotaxi services in specific areas of Austin, Houston, and Phoenix, and commenced testing in various other cities like Dallas, Nashville, and Los Angeles.

However, in response to these incidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated an investigation into Cruise’s autonomous vehicle system. This decision follows reports of Cruise vehicles potentially failing to exercise appropriate caution around pedestrians in San Francisco. Additionally, the San Francisco Police Department is conducting its own investigation into a recent incident involving a Cruise robotaxi and a pedestrian.

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