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Cruise robot taxis are back—sort of

Cruise said in a blog post that it is redeploying robotaxis in Phoenix after suspending operations for nearly five months. What’s the gain? The cars will be in so-called “manual mode,” so they won’t drive themselves.

Cruise will resume manual driving of its self-driving cars to create maps and collect road information in certain cities, starting with Phoenix, the company said Tuesday. The GM unit, which already has operations in Phoenix, withdrew its entire U.S. fleet last year after an incident in San Francisco that left a pedestrian trapped under and dragged away by a Cruise robotaxi.

Prior to that event, Cruise had been announcing product launches in new cities such as Dallas, Houston and Miami at a breakneck pace. Critics accuse the company of expanding too quickly and cutting corners on safety.

Now, Cruise appears to be returning to fundamentals, a radical departure from the aggressive growth strategy the company pursued just last year. During the pause, Cruise continued to test its self-driving car technology in simulations and closed courses. Creating high-quality maps and collecting road information should allow Cruise to meet higher safety and performance goals, the company said in a blog post.

Cruise has yet to announce when or where it will resume driverless operations. The company’s main operations were historically located in San Francisco, but Cruise lost its license to operate there after the accident. Cruise will begin expanding its paid service area in the Phoenix area in August 2023. Alphabet’s Waymo, Cruise’s main rival and still active in San Francisco, has been operating a paid driverless robotaxi service in the area since 2020, doubling its service area in downtown Phoenix and launching Phoenix last year. A driverless service to the airport.

This news is developing. Please check back for updates.

#Cruise #robot #taxis #backsort

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