In Japan, GM, Honda, and Cruise want to start providing driverless taxi services in 2026

In Japan, GM, Honda, and Cruise want to start providing driverless taxi services in 2026

General Motors (GM), Cruise, and Honda are joining forces to introduce an autonomous ride-hailing service in Japan, with a potential launch date in early 2026 if all goes according to their plan. These companies have formalized their collaboration through a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture for this endeavor. The goal is to set up the company by the first half of 2024, contingent on obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals. The ride-hailing service will utilize the Cruise Origin, an electric shuttle van co-developed by the companies. This self-driving vehicle lacks a steering wheel, driver’s seat, pedals, and rearview mirror.

Instead, it features a spacious cabin where up to six passengers can sit facing each other, with sliding doors similar to those on a subway. GM expressed that “the opportunity for the ride-hail service in Japan, expected to be the first of its kind, is substantial.” This service has the potential to address Japan’s ongoing shortage of drivers and offer an alternative to those unable to use Tokyo’s extensive train and subway system for various reasons.

While the project is still in its early stages, the companies have a clear vision for its execution. They plan to start by deploying “dozens” of Cruise Origin vehicles in central Tokyo by 2026 and then gradually expand the fleet to 500 Origins. Subsequently, they aim to extend the service beyond the city center. Similar to other ride-hailing services, passengers will be able to request an Origin ride through a dedicated app and make their payments through the same platform.

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