General Motors’ (GM) self-driving technology unit Cruise has unveiled plans to expand its driverless ride service to cities like Phoenix, Arizona, and Austin, Texas, in 90 days, Cruise Chief Executive Kyle Vogt said on Monday.
Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference, Vogt said that the Cruise unit plans to achieve revenue of $1 billion by 2025 or at least half its current level of annual investment from General Motors.
In June, Cruise started charging for self-driving car rides in San Francisco at night, using Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles. Cruise operates as many as 70 driverless AVs concurrently in San Francisco, and will double or triple the number by year-end.
The Cruise CEO said that the company operations in Austin and Phoenix will be small-scale in the beginning and will be “revenue-generating,” with a plan to ramp up operations next year.
Cruise has obtained all the permits necessary for using the driverless cars for ride-hailing and delivery services in Phoenix, where it has already tested its self-driving delivery service with Walmart, which is one of its investors.
Google’s (GOOGL) Waymo is already operating a driverless taxi service in suburban Phoenix. In San Francisco, Waymo offers free autonomous rides to a limited number of people with safety drivers on board.
Commenting on the interest in driverless cars, Vogt said the self-driving car industry has swung back from “extreme optimism” to “extreme pessimism,” but this will change.
“I think people are going to be caught off guard by how quickly Autonomous Vehicles go from the first ride that you’ve taken to available pretty much everywhere,” he said.
Vogt acknowledged “some rough spots we’ve got to keep working on” but said AV technology was “no longer the main bottleneck.”
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