Autonomous GM taxis will operate in Arizona and Texas

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The General Motors autonomous vehicle company announced Monday plans to expand operations of its robot taxi services it recently launched in California to new markets in Arizona and Texas before the end of the year.

Cruise, a San Francisco company that General Motors acquired six years ago, said the autonomous taxi service that began charging San Francisco passengers last June will start operations in Phoenix, Arizona, and Austin, Texas, within next 90 days.

As it has been doing in parts of San Francisco at some late-night times, Cruise’s service will transport passengers in vehicles that will not have a backup driver to take over in the event of a robotic technology failure. The company’s CEO, Kyle Vogt, did not release further details about passenger service in Phoenix and Austin.

Once the service opens in Phoenix, Cruise will compete with another self-driving taxi service operated by Waymo, a Google spinoff that already charges passengers in that city.

Waymo is also testing a robotic taxi service in San Francisco that has not yet been authorized to charge passengers.

Although Vogt told investors that the autonomous taxi service in San Francisco is gaining many traction, Cruise ran into trouble a day after receiving his permission from state regulators to start charging fares.

In a regulatory disclosure released a few days ago, Cruise revealed that he recalled 80 of his self-driving vehicles for a software update after one of the cars was involved in an accident resulting in minor injuries.

Cruise told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that one of his vehicles was making a left turn around a corner when it was struck by a car. Cruise’s vehicle had to be towed, according to the documents.

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