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HomeCruiseGM’s Cruise autonomous vehicles relaunch in Dallas this week - with drivers

GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicles relaunch in Dallas this week – with drivers

General Motors’ autonomous taxi company Cruise began a soft launch in Dallas this week more than a year after it made its initial debut in the city.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service will use manually driven vehicles without autonomous systems engaged for now, and is only testing the service in a limited geographical area, according to a city memo. Although Cruise was using some autonomous tech in the city last year and was poised to begin final testing before launching fully automated service in the fall, the company suffered a major setback after a crash that involved a Cruise taxi dragging a pedestrian in San Francisco in October.
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That led Cruise to recall nearly 1,000 vehicles and pause its robotaxi service nationwide. It’s been in talks with Dallas staff since late April about its revised approach following the incident, “which includes a greater emphasis on safety protocols,” the memo cites. Cruise announced leadership changes since last year, including appointing a new chief safety officer in February.
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“Cruise’s AV stack is based on AI technology that learns from information gathered through our driving experience and retrains and evolves our models continuously,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “The fleet learns from every intersection, construction zone, and road sign it encounters, and applies that knowledge to other environments and scenarios — much the same as a human driver learns, but with far more data and the ability to impart that continuous learning across the entire fleet. Because no two cities are the same, we plan to conduct this manual and supervised driving in multiple cities, including Dallas.”
Dallasites will not be able to hail a ride yet, since the taxis won’t carry public passengers yet. Next for Cruise is an expansion into supervised autonomous driving with a safety driver behind the wheel in the coming weeks, though still not with passengers on board.
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Cruise is launching with three vehicles in Downtown, Deep Ellum, Lower Greenville, Uptown Park Cities and the Love Field area. Over time the company will expand the total number of vehicles on the road and the area of operations to other areas including Farmers Branch, Kessler and Bishop Arts district of West Dallas, a spokesperson said.
Last year Cruise was running tests using a small fleet of Chevy Bolts ahead of its anticipated automated launch in Oak Lawn, Uptown, Downtown, Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville. Cruise was also testing its autonomous vehicles in Houston and offered fully autonomous service in Austin and Phoenix along with its home city of San Francisco.
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Cruise began conducting the first of several “extensive” training sessions Friday to train first responders on how the autonomous vehicles operate and how to engage with the fleet, the spokesperson confirmed.
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Gus Khankarli, director of Dallas’ transportation department, did not respond to requests for an interview or comment about the move Monday.
GM had high hopes for Cruise before the October incident. It predicted annual revenue of $50 billion by 2030 from Cruise, which raised $10 billion in capital commitments from investors like General Motors, Honda, Microsoft, T. Rowe Price and Walmart. But Cruise has faced intense scrutiny since and has been criticized for causing traffic jams and blocking emergency vehicles in San Francisco.
Dallas officials hope the more cautious approach of Cruise’s relaunch will help the company avoid any local hiccups.
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“Cruise has taken a proactive and collaborative approach in working with the city to rebuild trust in its safety protocols,” the memo reads. “As such, City staff looks forward to working with Cruise and to continuing to collaborate on our shared mission to improve road safety.”

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