San Francisco Startup Launches Unmanned Cabs in Dubai

The cruise will launch unmanned cabs in Dubai by 2023. It is the first city in the world to contract with an unmanned car manufacturer. Startup Cruise, which is backed by General Motors to develop self-driving cars, has signed a contract with Dubai’s traffic authority to launch unmanned cabs by 2023. It is the first city in the world to contract with an unmanned car manufacturer, the Financial Times reports.

Voyage, founded in 2017, had raised $52 million in investments before that, while Cruise had raised about $8 billion, so the difference in the scale of the companies is obvious. Cruise is now focused on building robot cab services. The company recently began testing fully unmanned cars in San Francisco, with test drivers still in the passenger seat of the drones. The voyage won’t stop giving rides to retirees just yet, but it’s reported that Cruise will eventually discontinue these operations. But if you want to ride a nice car by yourself, address car hire Dubai – it will be a great solution. Today, luxury car rental services are especially common in the emirates. Moreover, they are available to any segment of the population – both the rich and ordinary workers. Everyone will find something for their taste and budget.

“Voyage’s approach has always been to use our limited resources to create a product that restores mobility to those who need it most – seniors. We’ve made tremendous progress toward that goal. Our drones have transported a huge number of seniors (some of whom are over 90 years old) into retirement communities,” Oliver Cameron wrote on his blog, after announcing the deal with Cruise.  

Cruise, on the other hand, said it would be happy to transport not just retirees, but everyone, regardless of age. And for this purpose, large-scale unmanned cab services will be created, first in certain areas and then in most cities.  

Key facts

  • Cruise is to supply the city with 4,000 unmanned cars by 2030.
  • Dubai authorities aim to make a quarter of the city’s transportation fully autonomous by 2030.
  • As part of the agreement, Cruise will create a subsidiary in the UAE that will be responsible for supplying, operating, and maintaining Dubai’s fleet of unmanned cars.
  • The cruise will have exclusive rights to provide unmanned cab services in the city until 2029.
  • Dubai is also trying to become the first city to have flying cab services. Therefore, since 2017, it has been cooperating with the German aviation startup Volocopter, which is testing the technology in the city.

The cruise was founded in 2013 in San Francisco. In 2016, the startup was bought by General Motors for $1 billion when the company had only 40 employees. Cruise now has about 2,000 employees.

In January, Cruise received a $2 billion investment in another funding round led by Microsoft. The startup’s post-investment valuation rose to $30 billion from the $19 billion it had in May 2019. According to Crunchbase, the company raised a total of $7.3 billion.

In December 2020, Cruise began testing autonomous cars in San Francisco. The company had hoped to begin operating a commercial taxi, at least in a limited way, by the end of 2019. But it later acknowledged that its technology was not yet capable of launching the service.

Last year, Cruise Origin, a prototype vehicle without a steering wheel, pedals, or any controls, was introduced.

Cruise’s competitors include Amazon’s Zoox. In December 2020, the startup introduced an unmanned electric car that can run for up to 16 hours without recharging and carry four passengers.

Also Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, has been testing its unmanned cab service in the U.S. since December 2019.

Cab aggregator Lyft has announced plans to begin deploying a fleet of fully self-driving cabs in many U.S. cities in 2023, writes Engadget. Lyft’s partner in this project is Motional, a joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai.

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