GM’s self-driving unit Cruise has begun initial testing and data collection in Miami, the company said in a statement. tweet Wednesday.
“The first phase is to familiarize our fleet with more and more diverse road conditions while collecting data,” the company said.
Cruise declined to provide any further information on what Phase 2 will look like, when it will start, how many Cruise vehicles currently have in Miami, and when the company plans to begin testing.
The news comes two months after Cruise expanded to Houston and Dallas, where the AV company has begun supervised testing and is expected to offer driverless rides to the public “soon,” a Cruise spokesperson said. Supervised testing simply means there is a human safety driver in the car. Cruise will move to driverless testing before opening up service to passengers.
Cruise does most of its business in its hometown of San Francisco, where it competes head-on with Alphabet’s Waymo. The two companies are currently in licensing woes, waiting for the California Public Utilities Commission to grant them the right to charge for citywide robo-taxi service (24/7). Despite support from the technology and business communities, Waymo and Cruise have faced opposition from residents and city agencies, which could cause the CPUC to delay hearings to approve their permits.
Cruise has not said if it plans to launch a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt in Miami (although that may be difficult right now because General Motors has discontinued the car) or whether it will put its own Cruise Origins on the street. Cruise’s Origin is an electric self-driving car built for a human driver, with no steering wheel or pedals. In October 2021, Cruise’s then-CEO Dan Ammann said the company would roll out “tens of thousands” of Origins on public roads over the next few years.
In March, Cruise’s current CEO, Kyle Vogt, said the company would begin testing its Origins on the streets of Austin in the coming weeks. While Origin’s human-operated prototypes have manually collected data for AV perception system testing and validation, Cruise has yet to begin driverless testing in Austin. A spokesperson told TechCrunch Cruise that these tests will begin “soon.”
Cruise isn’t the first AV company to venture into Miami. Last year, Ford-backed Argo AI began testing driverless services in Miami. The original plan was to put the service on Lyft’s platform, but Argo has since shut down.