GM Quietly Working On Launching its Robo Taxi Service in San Francisco

By Eric Waltz : futurecar – excerpt

Since General Motors acquired San Francisco-based autonomous driving startup Cruise Automation in 2016 for $1 billion, the two companies have been laying the groundwork and testing autonomous technology for a commercial launch of a robo taxi service using an autonomous fleet of Chevy Bolt EVs. Now, more details of the project have been revealed.

Automotive News has reported that Cruise installed 18 fast EV chargers in a parking facility near San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a bustling waterfront district popular with tourists that includes Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building Marketplace. GM’s self-driving car unit has been testing its own ‘Cruise Anywhere’ ride-hailing app and fleet-management system, said people familiar with the matter.

GM is planning to start its own ride-hailing business using self-driving cars outfitted by Cruise in 2019, but the company has remained silent on when the robo taxi service would start or whether it will work with a partner. Now it appears that San Francisco will be the first launch city.

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Interesting that they picked the Embarcardero area to develop their “driverless taxi service”. I was just down at the Embarcadero Center and almost all of the the retail spaces are empty. Most restaurants, shops and bars seem to have closed. All the street parking was taken up by construction trucks. Is this the future of our humanless city? Empty robocars driving around in search of a human rider? A better question is, has the SFMTA signed a contract with GM to launch a progam in SF without bothering to inform us yet? And how does the voting public take away their pen? I this another PUC product? How does the voting public take away the state’s right to control local affairs?

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