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GM Cruise will begin robotaxi testing in Phoenix this week

Cruise Robotaxi

General Motors’ self-driving car unit, Cruise, is restarting robotaxi testing in Phoenix, Arizona. This week, Cruise will begin piloting autonomous vehicles with human safety drivers behind the wheel. The move comes after the company halted its driverless operations across the U.S. six months ago.

This supervised testing phase follows several months of mapping and data collection in Phoenix. The goal is to validate the performance of Cruise’s self-driving technology against strict safety and performance benchmarks. The vehicles will operate autonomously, but safety drivers will be present to take over if necessary.

This supervised testing is a crucial step before Cruise reintroduces driverless taxis. It builds upon the company’s extensive experience in simulations, closed-course testing, and millions of miles driven autonomously in the past.

The testing will commence in Phoenix and gradually expand to neighboring suburbs such as Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, and Chandler. Rigorous safety procedures and protocols are deployed, encompassing product safety, operational safety, and enterprise safety.

  • Product Safety: Cruise vehicles are built on General Motors’ Chevy Bolt EV platform and rigorously tested to meet all safety standards after integrating Cruise’s self-driving hardware. Stringent maintenance procedures and thorough software validation ensure the vehicles function optimally.
  • Operational Safety: Cruise has documented protocols for safe fleet operations, including comprehensive driver training, performance monitoring, and responsible scaling of operations.
  • Enterprise Safety: Cruise fosters a safety-focused culture where every employee prioritizes the safety of the technology and its operations. This is achieved through strong governance, clear policies, reporting channels, and regular safety training.

The restart of operations comes after a challenging period for Cruise. In October 2023, a pedestrian was injured in an accident involving a Cruise vehicle in San Francisco. This incident, along with The company’s handling of the situation, led to a suspension of testing and robotaxi operations in California. The automaker underwent significant restructuring, including leadership changes and a thorough review of the incident.

This supervised testing in Phoenix marks a turning point for Cruise. The success of this testing phase will be crucial for its eventual return to fully driverless robotaxi operations.

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