GM Tests Fleet Of 46 Robocar Taxis In SF: Driverless Car Timeline Promises By Manufacturer

Robocar testing in Silicon Valley is underway. Wired reports GM’S Robocar Service Drives Employees Around SF for Free.

Cruise Anywhere, which launched Tuesday, works just like Uber or Lyft: Open the app, type in your location and destination, and wait for your car. It’s available to 10 percent of Cruise’s 250 employees, between 7 am and 11 pm, and uses the company’s fleet of 461 Chevrolet Bolt EVs. (There will still be a safety driver sitting up front, no doubt thrilled their colleagues are headed to happy hour while they work the late shift.)

The program’s launch marks a turning point for Cruise, which GM bought in 2015 for $600 million, as it switches from developing autonomous technology to building a self-driving taxi service. And of course, it’s more than a fringe benefit for hardworking engineers. It marks a new chapter in the development of technology Cruise has spent three years on. Real-world testing will reveal how the vehicles handles the road, and the people it carries.

Of course, Cruise employees aren’t civilians, or a representative sample of a potential customer base. But they are far more likely to keep quiet about hiccups with the tech, and will provide valuable feedback without exposing Cruise to a PR maelstrom if something goes awry.

It remains to be seen how long this program will run, or when Cruise might expand it to the general public, either in California or a state with less restrictive regulations. And it’s not clear how GM’s deal with Lyft to work together on a self-driving car network fits in with Cruise’s decision to build its own app for connecting riders with cars.

But for now, we can say GM’s bid to stay relevant in the age of autonomy just got a boost.

Cruise Anywhere

I have to say that is one ugly car. And it’s not ready for prime time, yet. Those side attachments look flimsy. I suspect a shopping cart might take one out.

That said, a quick check of my calendar shows this is still 2017. So what’s in store?

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