GM, Cruise and Honda to launch robotaxi service in Japan


GM, Cruise and Honda to launch robotaxi service in Japan -Gudstory

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General Motors, self-driving car subsidiary Cruise and Honda plan to launch a robotaxi service in Japan under a new joint venture, the three companies announced today.

The companies intend to launch service with custom-built Cruise Origin vehicles in central Tokyo in early 2026. The service will launch with dozens of cruise origins. The fleet will eventually expand to 500 Cruise Origin vehicles, the companies said, adding that the plan is to expand the service area beyond central Tokyo.

Executives from the three companies, including GM CEO Mary Barra, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt and Honda Global CEO Toshihiro Mibe, made the announcement during a press event ahead of the Japan Mobility Show 2023 in Tokyo. Barra appeared virtually while others appeared in person.

“We see a huge opportunity in Japan, as it has the potential to become one of the largest AV markets in the world given the current high demand for taxis,” Barra said. “There is also a growing need for new forms of transport in the region, given the shortage of drivers and the growing need for accessible forms of transport.

The joint venture is an extension of a well-established partnership between GM, Cruze and Honda. Honda and GM have collaborated since 2013 when the companies began working on hydrogen fuel cell systems. The Cruise Origin, the product of a multi-year collaboration with parent company GM and investor Honda, was unveiled in January 2020. Two years later, GM and Honda announced plans to co-develop affordable electric vehicles that would launch in North America in 2027. ,

“Our three companies came together to develop Origin because we know it requires strong, dedicated companies with unique skills and a clear vision,” Barra said.

The announcement of bringing Cruise Origin to Japan follows a year of rapid growth and milestones, as well as a number of incidents in San Francisco that have increased opposition against the self-driving car company. In the past year, Cruise received the final necessary permits to expand service from limited operations in San Francisco to 24 hours-7 days a week throughout the city, as well as launch robotaxi services in some areas of Austin, Houston and Phoenix . The company has also started testing its AVs in several other cities, including Dallas, Nashville and Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into Cruise’s autonomous vehicle system after several incidents involving pedestrians in San Francisco. The most recent incident, which occurred on October 2, left a woman trapped beneath a Cruise robotaxi after being hit by a human-driven vehicle. The San Francisco Police Department is also investigating that incident.

NHTSA launched a preliminary investigation after receiving reports of incidents involving cruise vehicles that “may not have exercised appropriate caution around pedestrians on the roadway,” according to a filing on the agency’s website.


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