Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed tweeted early Monday that the San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle company Cruise will supply the United Arab Emirates city’s autonomous taxi shuttles.
Cruise was selected to operate its Origin ride-sharing shuttles in the UAE city as soon as 2023. By 2030, the city’s Roads and Transport Authority plans to have 4,000 of the steering wheel-less electric pods that fit six passengers. Dubai will be the first international location for Cruise.
Cruise still plans on offering an autonomous taxi service in San Francisco, where it’s been testing sensor-loaded Chevy Bolt EVs. General Motors is a major investor in Cruise.
Dubai has a goal to turn 25 percent of its transportation trips into self-driving trips by 2030, so this is part of that effort. In a press release, the city’s director-general of the RTA noted that Cruise’s GM connection influenced the selection, “[It] gives them the ability to build their self-driving cars on standard production lines, which will ensure the highest performance and safety standards.”
Cruise debuted the Origin autonomous shuttle in the beginning of 2020. The electric pods with no driver seat or controls are supposed to be produced at GM’s new EV factory in Detroit (dubbed Factory Zero) and eventually shuttle users around San Francisco. And now, also Dubai.
Cruise will be the sole autonomous taxi operator through 2029 in Dubai. Back in 2018, Dubai started its own autonomous taxi service so it’s no stranger to self-driving vehicles cruising along city streets.
Autonomous ride service Waymo, the Google spinoff company, also has plans to eventually expand beyond the U.S. to Europe and Japan as part of a partnership with Renault and Nissan.