One of GM’s most recent acquisitions, Cruise Automation, has begun doing autonomous ride hailing to GM employees in the San Francisco area. Now this is a beta test for the company right now, but it’s the start of something big for GM, especially since it is a big investor in Lyft. According to Tech Crunch, the service is being dubbed as “Cruise Anywhere”. This service is essentially an app that employees are able to use on their smartphones and get a ride to anywhere in San Francisco, any day of the week. While this is still in beta, it is seeing a pretty high adoption rate, with some employees using it as their main mode of transportation. Currently, around 10% of GM’s employees in San Francisco are enrolled in the beta, but the company is adding more each week.
Cruise CEO and co-founder, Kyle Vogt stated that “we’ve aleays said we’d launch first with a ride share application, and this is in line with that and just further evidence of that.”Vogt continued by stating that Cruise is excited about how this is evolving, and it’s the next logical step into making autonomous vehicles or AV’s, a primary form of transportation.
For this service, Cruise is using modified versions of the Chevy Bolt EV, GM’s first electric vehicle that gets over a 200-mile range, and actually costs under $30,000. It’s a vehicle that GM has been using heavily in autonomous vehicle testing, even loaning some to Lyft recently. The Bolt EV is a good fit since it is electric, it won’t need to stop for gas, but it will need to be recharged after around 200 miles. This makes the autonomous experience a bit more, well, autonomous. One employee at Cruise has said that he has used this service for about 60 rides over the past three weeks. Using Cruise Anywhere for just about everything, from running errands, going out for drinks and even going to work. Which is essentially what Cruise wants. It wants this autonomous ride sharing service to become the main mode of transportation, so that soon, users won’t even be buying cars, as they’ll just hail a ride when one is needed.