“We’ve always said we’d launch first with a rideshare application, and this is in line with that and just further evidence of that,” said Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt in an interview. “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 AVs their primary form of transportation.”
This latest move by Cruise is definitely a big step — its autonomous technology is now getting road ready for actual commercial service deployments. Competitor Waymo has also debuted an autonomous ride-hailing trial in Chandler, Arizona, with public applications for membership welcome, but Cruise’s service so far seems the broadest in terms of service area and availability based on known information.