Cruise is making good on its promise to launch an autonomous driving service in Dubai. Just a few weeks after The General Motors-backed AV company has officially launched a driverless commercial operation in San Francisco.Cruise has sent two of its Chevrolet Bolt autonomous electric vehicles to Dubai to begin mapping the city in preparation for a planned launch in 2023. Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
last april, Cruise signs partnership with RTA to launch robot taxi service there as part of the ruler of the UAE Vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum By 2030, convert 25% of all transport trips in Dubai to self-driving trips. After a “comprehensive, multi-year process to select the best possible partner”, Cruise has been selected as the exclusive robot taxi supplier in Dubai until 2029.
The two Chevy Bolts, which began mapping work on Sunday, will initially be deployed in the city’s Jumeirah area, a residential strip along the beach, and will be driven by specially trained people. The Cruise sensor suite includes lidar, radar, and cameras to collect data about the vehicle’s environment, which can then be used to create a virtual map for an autonomous driver.
Cruz has previously stated that the robot taxi service in Dubai will use Cruise Origins, the company’s all-electric shuttle. which has no steering wheel or pedals. Mattar Al Tayer, CEO of RTA, said in a statement that he hopes to reach 4,000 Cruise Origins in Dubai by 2030.
However, according to a Cruise spokesperson, Cruise does not currently have a single Origin in operation, and so far it has only been built for closed course testing purposes. The company did not respond in time to requests for more information, but it is likely that Cruise will start operations in Dubai using tried and true Chevy Bolts.
It is also unclear what the process for delivering self-driving driving services in Dubai will look like given the different UAE regulatory framework. In San Francisco, Cruise followed a roadmap that included testing its AVs with drivers behind the wheel before opening the free service to employees and later to the public. Cruise then began charging for driver-driven trips while testing its driverless fleet. The company then reopened its drone services, first to employees and then to the public, before it was finally able to charge for it.
Much of this process has been driven by California’s strict regulatory environment regarding AV testing and deployment, but Cruise is likely to take some of the same steps in Dubai. City takes an aggressive approach to AV integration on all modes of public transport, from taxis and subways to buses and shuttles, and wants to set a global example of policy and legislation for autonomous vehicles.
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