Robotaxis are cruisin’ into Music City.
Cruise, a self-driving rideshare company, announced Nashville will be its seventh “robotaxi-enabled city.”
The San Francisco-based company said it began testing vehicles on Friday and plans to offer driverless rides in a few months.
So far, Cruise is only commercially operating the self-driving vehicles in San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix, but has tested them in Houston, Dallas, and Miami. Here’s what to know as the fleet hits the streets.
How it works
Cruise is the self-driving division of General Motors and operates a Chevy Bolt-based autonomous vehicle.
According to TechCrunch, the company enters a market with test vehicles and a human safety operator behind the wheel. When the car is ready to hit the road — sans human — it is first available to employees followed by those who join the waitlist.
The current generation of vehicles are equipped with a steering wheel that moves and three tablets in the car — with two in the back for passengers to start the trip, watch the map, and receive ride updates. Two guests can ride at a time, according to Cruise’s website.
What the company is saying
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said, “Our theory was simple: if we can make autonomous vehicles work in a city like San Francisco — with its fog, hills, and traffic — they’ll work just about anywhere.”
When the company began testing in Phoenix and Austin, it “took some work to adapt to these new cities, but most of the systems worked well.” Since then, Vogt said the company has improved adaptation to pedicabs, pedal taverns, and even donkeys without hard coding rules for each situation.
You can’t hop into one of the vehicles just yet, but you can take it for a virtual spin on Cruise’s website — scroll halfway down the page.