General Motors acquired Cruise Automation last year to boost its self-driving car efforts. Cruise made kits that turned Audi S4 or A4 vehicles into autonomous vehicles, and the company’s know-how helped GM’s plans to place more than 300 driverless cars with Lyft, a company GM has invested heavily with. Now GM is testing a beta app that lets employees in San Francisco hail an autonomous Chevy Bolt EV to anywhere in the city. According to TechCrunch, the car company claims that the new service, “Cruise Anywhere,” has become the primary way some of its employees get around.
“We’ve always said we’d launch first with a ride share application, and this is in line with that and just further evidence of that,” Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt told TechCrunch. “We’re really excited about how the technology is evolving, and the rate at which it’s evolving. This is a manifestation of that – putting the app in people’s hands and having them use it for the first time and make (autonomous vehicles) their primary form of transportation.”
Employees can use the Cruise Anywhere service up to 24 hours a day, says TechCrunch, depending on availability. As required by California law, a “safety driver” remains in the driver’s seat at all times, though TechCrunch reports that the cars have only needed manual takeovers on rare occasions. While the service is limited to GM employees at present, it’s likely only a matter of time before a service like this — with Lyft or as its own business — expands to the general public.