GM, Honda and Cruise plan to offer driverless taxi rides in Japan in 2026

GM, Cruise and Honda are teaming up to introduce a driverless ride-hailing service in Japan, which could launch in early 2026 if things go according to plan. The companies have entered a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture for the project, and they’re hoping to establish the company in the first half of 2024, provided they’re able to secure the necessary regulatory approvals by then. Their ride-hailing service will deploy the Cruise Origin electric shuttle van that the companies had developed together. It’s a self-driving vehicle with no steering wheel or even a driver’s seat, which means it also has no pedals and no rearview mirror.


Instead, it has a big cabin space where up to six passengers can sit facing each other, and its doors slide open like a subway’s. “The opportunity for the ridehail service in Japan, which is expected to be the first of its kind, is huge,” GM said in its announcement. It has the potential to solve the country’s ongoing driver shortage and could provide an alternative for those who can’t use Tokyo’s extensive train and subway system for any reason. 

While it’s still early days for the project, the companies already have a vision for how they want to execute their plans. They’re looking to start by deploying “dozens” of Cruise Origins in central Tokyo by 2026 before expanding the fleet to 500 Origins. After that, they’re hoping to make the service available outside of the capital’s center. Like any other similar service, passengers will be able to hail an Origin through a dedicated app, as well as pay for their ride. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at 

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