Autotaxi Cruz enters Miami (just like Messi does) -

Autotaxi Cruz enters Miami (just like Messi does)

GM’s robotic cruise company is slowly expanding, and its next market appears to be Miami. Just as the magical Lionel Messi ushered in a new era of football in The Magic City, the magical Automated Train Cruise began testing its routes.

That’s all the news we have – “We’re excited to start initial testing and data collection in your vibrant city tomorrow! The first phase is familiarizing our fleet with additional and varied road conditions while collecting data.”

Aside from the fun mix of Miami and robotaxis, the interesting thing about the news is simply how quickly Cruise has been expanding lately. The company dramatically expanded robot services in San Francisco at the end of last year (November 2022), then started service in Austin (Texas) in December (I took pictures of cruise vehicles there in November as they prepared for commercial service), and then entered Houston and Dallas just two months earlier in May. Now, he is already moving to a new city – Miami.

Cruise electric robottaxi in Austin, Texas.

Was this move rushed to fit Lionel Messi’s first matches with Inter Miami? There is a +90% chance it wasn’t, but who knows?

It’s not clear how long it will be until Cruise actually introduces the robot in Miami, as there are various stages of testing it must pass — with a human safety driver on board and then without a passenger but without any passengers. But once a company makes an announcement of a test run in the city, one has to expect a commercial taxi service there before too long. If the company had a sufficient marketing budget, perhaps it could get Messi to go on one of the first outings.

Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle

Image courtesy of Cruz

As a Florida resident, I’m hoping Cruise will launch a robotaxi service in Miami with her Origin electric vehicle. Designed to serve robots that are flexible, roomy, and friendly, this vehicle is more attractive than the Chevy Bolt as a robotic vehicle. In March, Cruise’s current CEO, Kyle Vogt, said the company would begin street testing of its assets in Austin over the coming weeks. While Origin’s human-run prototypes have been manually collecting data used to test and validate the AV visualization system, Cruise has yet to begin driverless test drives in Austin. A TechCrunch spokesperson tells Cruise it will begin those tests “soon.”

Featured image of Cruz

Related story: 5 Weird Places Driven by Robotaxis in San Francisco


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