Honda, GM and Cruise team up to launch a driverless ride-hailing service in early 2026

In a monumental partnership aimed at reshaping urban transportation, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., General Motors Company (GM), and Cruise have announced a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines their plan to launch a revolutionary driverless ridehail service in Japan. This collaboration aspires to foster a joint venture, with an anticipated launch of the trailblazing service in early 2026.

This new-age service is slated to utilize the Cruise Origin, an extraordinary automotive creation resulting from the collaborative brilliance of GM, Cruise, and Honda. The Cruise Origin is purpose-built for the envisioned driverless ridehail service, embodying the essence of autonomous mobility with no driver’s seat or steering wheel. Its expansive cabin is designed to offer a sense of privacy comparable to a personal vehicle and can comfortably accommodate six passengers, enabling a face-to-face seating arrangement.

Customers are poised to immerse themselves in a seamless and technologically advanced ride-hailing experience. A dedicated smartphone application will facilitate the entirety of the user journey, from hailing a ride and specifying pick-up locations to processing payments.

Scheduled for initial deployment in the vibrant heart of Tokyo in 2026, the operation will commence with a modest fleet of Cruise Origins. An expansion plan is already delineated, aiming for a robust fleet of 500 Cruise Origins as the service gains momentum. The overarching vision extends beyond the confines of central Tokyo, with aspirations for a broader service outreach into diverse geographical locales.

Cruise Origin Driverless Ridehail Service
The driverless ridehail service will begin in central Tokyo in early 2026.

In alignment with the spirit of societal contribution, the service aims to navigate beyond conventional transportation paradigms. It seeks to be a meaningful response to the prevalent challenges in Japan, such as the notable shortage of taxi and bus drivers. Honda, in alignment with the emergent joint venture, is intent on cultivating robust collaborations across various sectors, fostering harmonized relations with local municipal governments and comprehensive transportation service networks.

In a forthcoming showcase at the JAPAN MOBILITY SHOW 2023, the Cruise Origin is set to make its debut appearance, marking a significant milestone in the lead-up to the service’s official launch.

Reflecting on this groundbreaking initiative, the leaders of the collaborating entities shared insightful perspectives. Kyle Vogt, Founder and CEO of Cruise, remarked, “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.”

Cruise Origin Driverless Ridehail Service Capacity
The “Cruise Origin” is a self-driving car with a large cabin that fits six people. You can ride alone or share the ride, allowing for private meetings.

Mary Barra, Chair and CEO of GM, shared her vision stating, “GM has always been invested in defining the future of transportation and that’s more true today than ever. The benefits of AVs – from safety to accessibility – are too profound to ignore and 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.”

Toshihiro Mibe, Global CEO of Honda, expressed his outlook, noting, “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.”

Source: Honda

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