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Blog Post


Going Driverless Together

My name is Kyle Vogt, and I’m the CEO of Cruise. We run a driverless ride service, which is a new way to get around town, and we’re bringing it to more communities soon.

In case you’re not already familiar with Cruise, I want to give you a quick overview of who we are, what we do, and what you can expect when we arrive in your city. We build and operate driverless vehicles that you can summon using an app on your phone, just like any other ride hailing service. But our vehicles show up without anyone else inside. It’s exciting, futuristic, and then… boring. The novelty wears off quickly, and then most people start to notice how smooth the ride is and how safe it feels. 

I know this may feel well-outside your comfort zone, at least for now. That was the case for many of our current users. But you should know that our vehicles are equipped with a 360 view of the world and have the ability to react quickly and intelligently to whatever they encounter on the road. We test our vehicles using simulations, so that by the time they hit the road in your city they’ve experienced millions of possible scenarios and driven many millions of virtual miles. They’ve also driven more than 4 million real miles, much of that in San Francisco. If you’ve ever been to SF, you know it might be one of the most challenging driving cities in the world. And every one of those miles of driving experience is passed along to every other car in our fleet. What one learns, they all learn.

Another nice thing about our vehicles is that they never drink, text, or get tired. The reality is that many of us get behind the wheel when we probably shouldn’t, or take a peek at our phones when we should have our eyes on the road. Our vehicles always pay attention. There are other benefits to a car without a driver, too. Some of the women who use Cruise often tell us that they feel safer getting into a driverless car than getting into a ride-hailing car driven by a stranger, especially at night. Our entire fleet is also all-electric, which contributes to cleaner air in our cities and a cleaner planet. Our cars also don’t judge people, so no matter who you are or where you live, you’re welcome to ride with us. We’re even working on a vehicle specifically designed to serve people who use wheelchairs.

So what can you expect from Cruise now that you’ve started to see our cars around town? 

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that our cars drive the speed limit and come to a complete stop at every stop sign. Cruise vehicles detect and respond to police sirens, the flashing lights on fire trucks or ambulances, and even the stop signs that fold out of school buses. They react to people on scooters, people using bike lanes, and cars driving on the wrong side of the road. In short, they are designed to drive safely by obeying the law and driving in a humanlike way. Safety is everything to us - it’s the reason we’re here in the first place. 

You might notice that some Cruise cars do actually have people behind the wheel. They’re part of our mapping and data collection team. Every city is unique and our very first step is always to learn every square inch - every bike lane, every school zone, and every tricky intersection. But most of the time, our vehicles will be carrying riders in the back seat, or they’ll be completely empty and on their way to another pickup.

It's rare, but if our vehicles encounter a situation where they aren't 100% sure of what to do, it will slow down (or stop) and pull over to the side of the road to ensure passenger safety. It’s the safest thing to do in a tricky situation or when another problem occurs. These events are rare, and we work continuously to reduce the chances that it happens on one of your rides. 

We typically start by giving rides to our employees in limited areas during limited hours, typically at night. We want to ensure every aspect of the experience is smooth and efficient before finally opening our doors to you. We also partner closely with first responders, including police and fire departments, to ensure they’re ready and familiar with how to interact with our vehicles. We engage with these agencies frequently before and after we launch operations, including sharing information on how to interact with our vehicles in the event of an emergency.

We are very appreciative of every city who has welcomed us. These cars are for you, and we have pledged to commit 1% of our fleet to serving local communities. In San Francisco, we leveraged our fleet to deliver over 2.2 million meals to folks in need, and this commitment will grow as we scale and operate in more communities.

We can’t wait for everyone to experience the magic of a driverless ride! Given our gradual, safety-first approach to new markets, there’s usually a waitlist even in cities where we’ve already launched our service. You can sign up here and when our service becomes available in your city or neighborhood, we’ll let you know. We appreciate your patience and encourage you to follow, or even join our mission to make cities safer and more accessible.

Happy Cruising!