Autonomous vehicle company Cruise, which is owned by General Motors, is to launch a robotaxi service in Phoenix, Arizona and Austin, Texas before the end of the year, the company has announced.
Cruise already operates one autonomous ride-hailing service in San Francisco, which was given permission to start charging passengers this year after a years-long process of setting up. For the two new cities, the company predicts it will be up and running in 90 days.
The company has some experience working in Phoenix—it announced a delivery partnership with Walmart in the city in 2020. But to date Cruise hasn’t deployed a single vehicle in Austin.
“In Austin, what I’m really excited about is we’re going from zero footprints — no map, no infrastructure on the ground — to our first revenue-generating driverless rides in about 90 days,” Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said at a Goldman Sachs conference Monday. “This is something people thought may take years.”
The company now expects to scale up rapidly across the country. Vogt said on Monday Cruise and GM would ramp up manufacturing of the purpose-built autonomous vehicle, the Origin, to supply new markets.
“Looking at 2023, next year, things get really interesting on the growth side,” said Vogt. “There’s gonna be thousands of AVs rolling out of the General Motors plant, including the first Origins. We’ll be using those to light up many more markets and to start to generate meaningful revenue in those markets.”
Cruise expects to reach $1 billion in annual revenue by 2025. The company finished the second quarter of this year with $25 million in revenue after rolling out its commercial service in San Francisco. At the same time, its expenses increased, from $332 million in the same quarter the previous year to $550 million. Operating expenses also doubled to $605 million.
Cruise is among the few autonomous vehicle companies to have deployed driverless vehicles on public roads so far. Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo has operated similar vehicles in Phoenix for several years, and plans to launch a paid service in San Francisco in the coming months.
Motional, a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv, has tested level four autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas, and Russian tech firm Yandex also tested vehicles in the city before it shut down its operations in the U.S. following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Chinese technology company Baidu has been testing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in China since late 2020.