Cruise is making good on its promise to launch an autonomous driving service in Dubai. Just a few weeks after the General Motors-backed AV company officially launched its commercial driverless operations in San Francisco, Cruise has sent two of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles to Dubai to begin mapping the city in preparation for a planned launch in 2023, according to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Last April, Cruise signed a partnership agreement with the RTA to open a robotaxi service there as part of UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to convert 25% of total transportation trips in Dubai to self-driving trips by 2030. After a “comprehensive, multi-year process to choose the best possible partner,” Cruise was chosen as Dubai’s exclusive robotaxi provider until 2029.
The two Chevy Bolts, which began mapping operations Sunday, will initially be deployed in the Jumeirah area of the city, a residential strip along the beach, and driven by humans with special training. Cruise’s sensor suite includes lidar, radar and cameras to collect data about the car’s surrounding environment which can then be used to create a virtual map for the autonomous driver.