Honda, GM and Cruise to Launch Robotaxis in Japan
Pending regulatory approvals, the new company is expected to be established in the first half of 2024 and aims to begin operations in central Tokyo in early 2026.
“Honda has been a key partner with Cruise for several years and we’re excited to offer safer and more accessible transportation to customers in Tokyo. All of our work scaling in dense urban US markets will position us well to address the huge opportunity for autonomous vehicles in Japan,” said Kyle Vogt, Founder and CEO of Cruise, in a statement.
The service will utilize the Cruise Origin, a self-driving vehicle developed jointly by GM, Cruise, and Honda. The vehicle, which lacks a driver’s seat or steering wheel, will pick up customers at specified locations and drive them to their destinations. Customers will use a dedicated smartphone app to hail rides and complete payments. The Cruise Origin can accommodate up to six passengers and aims to offer a new kind of mobility experience in Japan.
“Through this important partnership with Cruise and Honda, we’re bringing forward innovation that leverages our expertise in cutting-edge software and hardware to help more people around the world get where they need to go,” said Mary Barra, Chair and CEO of GM.
The service will initially launch with dozens of Cruise Origins and is planned to expand to a fleet of 500 vehicles. The companies also intend to scale the service to areas outside of central Tokyo.
The joint venture aims to tackle societal challenges in Japan, such as the shortage of taxi and bus drivers. Honda and the new company plan to collaborate with various stakeholders, including local governments and transportation providers.
“Honda is striving to create the ‘joy and freedom of mobility.’ Through our driverless ridehail service, we will enable customers in Japan to experience a new value of mobility, improve the quality of their mobility experiences and offer the joy of mobility. This will be a major step toward the realization of an advanced mobility society,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Global CEO of Honda.
“Providing this service in central Tokyo where the traffic environment is complex will be a great challenge, however, by working jointly with Cruise and GM, Honda will exert further efforts to make it a reality,” added Mibe.
The Cruise Origin will be displayed for the first time in Japan at the Honda booth during the Japan Mobility Show 2023, scheduled from October 28 to November 5, 2023.