Autonomous vehicle operator Cruise, which is backed by General Motors, will launch a robotaxi service in Japan by 2026. It’s another sign that GM has no intention of backing down from its commitment to bringing driverless cars to more cities. as fast as possible.
Japan would be Cruise’s second international market, after Dubai. The advertisement is presented as a possible response to The shortage of drivers in the country., which has been exacerbated by the aging of the Japanese population. Cruise currently operates robotaxis in several U.S. cities and has said it plans to launch them in 12 more in the coming years.
Japan would be the second international cruise market, after Dubai
GM made the announcement alongside Honda, which has a three-year partnership to co-develop a series of affordable electric vehicles. Honda is also an investor in Cruise, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM. And GM and Honda co-designed the Cruise Origin, a purpose-built autonomous shuttle that will soon debut in the United States.
“When we think about autonomous vehicles, the benefits are too profound to ignore,” GM CEO Mary Barra said at a news conference announcing the move.
This is an interesting measure taking into account the reception that Cruise vehicles have generated in the cities in which it operates. San Francisco, for example, is divided over the fleets of driverless cars roaming its streets. Some residents are intrigued by the technology or believe driverless vehicles can make transportation more accessible for people with disabilities. Others worry that driverless cars will eliminate jobs or worsen traffic congestion on the roads.
City officials, including the traffic, police and fire departments, have raised serious concerns about driverless vehicles intruding on emergency scenes, blocking intersections and obstructing emergency vehicles. They have also been involved in a series of minor fender benders and rear-end collisions that have some residents concerned about an escalation as they are deployed further.