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Cruise, General Motors, and Honda announce joint venture for driverless ridehail service in Japan

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Image credit: Cruise

Cruise, General Motors Company (GM), and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Honda) have recently revealed plans to establish a joint venture aimed at introducing a driverless ridehail service in Japan by early 2026.

The ambitious project is set to launch in central Tokyo, offering customers a unique mobility experience.

The collaboration, announced through a Memorandum of Understanding, will see the three companies work together to create a new company responsible for operating the driverless ridehail service. Pending regulatory approvals, the joint venture is expected to materialise in the first half of 2024.

At the heart of the service is the Cruise Origin, a self-driving vehicle developed jointly by GM, Cruise, and Honda. Unlike traditional cars, the Cruise Origin does not feature a driver's seat or a steering wheel. Instead, it boasts a cabin with the capacity to accommodate six passengers who can face each other during the journey.

To access the service, customers will need to utilise a dedicated app installed on their smartphones. This app will enable them to hail a Cruise Origin from a specified location and complete the entire process, from pick-up to payment, seamlessly.

The driverless ridehail service aims to cater to a wide range of customers, including business professionals, families, and tourists. Its introduction in Japan is expected to address mobility issues and challenges faced by the country, such as the shortage of taxi and bus drivers.

Scheduled to commence operations in early 2026, the service will initially deploy dozens of Cruise Origins in central Tokyo. As the service gains traction and popularity, the fleet is set to expand to 500 Cruise Origins. Furthermore, the joint venture intends to extend the service to areas beyond central Tokyo.

Honda, GM, and the newly formed joint venture will work in close collaboration with local municipal governments and transportation service providers to ensure the integration of the driverless ridehail service.

Image credit: Cruise

Kyle Vogt, Founder and CEO of Cruise, said: “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.”

Mary Barra, Chair and CEO of GM, said: “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, said: “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. Providing this service in central Tokyo where the traffic environment is complex will be a great challenge, however, by working jointly with Cruise and GM, Honda will exert further efforts to make it a reality.”


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