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Cruise, the self-driving unit of GM, announced today that it would be bringing its robotaxis to Charlotte, NC. The company said that it has started initial testing across the city and will be working towards offering driverless rides.
Charlotte will be the eighth city that Cruise has started operations in, with the first seven being San Francisco, where the company is based, Phoenix, Austin, Houston, Dallas, Miami, and most recently Nashville. The company has deployed its robotaxis so far in three cities, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Austin.
Cruise has been rapidly expanding its robotaxi operations in the last year. While it took the company 33 months to receive all the regulatory approval it needed to begin rides in San Francisco, according to Vogt, for the company’s next deployment locations in Phoenix and Austin it took just three weeks, and the company seems to only be moving faster since then.
More recently, Cruise expanded its Arizona service area by 20 times, and just last week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to grant Cruise its final permit, allowing it to charge for all rides, expand hourly operations and service area, and add as many robotaxis to its fleet as it wants.
While Cruise has had much success in rolling out its robotaxi services, it hasn’t been without challenges. Earlier this year, the company issued a voluntary recall of 300 Cruise vehicles with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The recall was in response to a minor collision where a Cruise robotaxi hit the back of a San Francisco bus.
Cruise’s autonomous driving system is also currently being investigated by NHTSA. In a filing, NHSTA said it was interested in two different issues that had been reported to the administration that both result in the robotaxis becoming hazards for others on the road.