GM Cruise Robotaxis Land in Austin
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GM Cruise Robotaxis Land in Austin

A Cruise vehicle in San Francisco.Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The GM backed Cruise autonomous taxi service has begun offering driverless taxi rides in Austin, Texas – right in Tesla’s back yard!

GM’s announcement has been called “a shot across the bow” of Tesla, since that company, according to its controversial CEO, Elon Musk, will be “worth basically zero” if it can’t sold the self-driving robotaxi puzzle. “The overwhelming focus is on solving full self-driving,” Musk told interviewers on the YouTube channel, Tesla Owners Silicon Valley. “That’s essential. It’s really the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or worth basically zero.”

If you think Elon might know a thing or two about how to value a car company (or, alternatively, how to pump a stock price), you might want to take a second look at GM stock.

Despite a promise to put one million fully autonomous, self driving “robotaxi” capabilities on the road “next year” that date back to at least 2016, GM has – without a doubt – beaten Tesla to this very significant punch, and we got a real-life look at GM’s Cruise service in Austin in a 7-minute video posted to Twitter, which you can watch, below.


Keen-eyed observers will note that zero parked airplanes were hit in this video of the robotaxis in operation around Austin. It’s also worth noting that the Austin route completes GM’s stated goal of offering autonomous taxi services in three cities by the end of 2022. Austin joins Phoenix, AZ and San Francisco, CA.


That’s not to say that the GM robotaxi effort has been perfect. Earlier this year, one Cruise EV was pulled over by SFPD before it “bolted” off, and the NHTSA opened an investigation into Cruise vehicles causing accidents, stopping abruptly and blocking roadways. The NHTSA investigation marks yet another similarity between “modern” GM and Tesla.


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