Cruise, General Motors Company (GM) and Honda Motor Co. (Honda) have agreed to establish a joint venture that will see them offer a driverless ride service in Japan in early 2026. The three companies aim to establish this new company in the first half of 2024 pending regulatory approvals.
The new company will use the Cruise Origin, jointly developed by GM, Cruise and Honda and purpose built for a driverless ride service, to pick up customers at a specified location and then drive them to the destination, entirely through self-driving. Customers will use a dedicated app on their smart phones to complete the entire process from hailing to payment.
The Cruise Origin is a self-driving vehicle with no driver’s seat or steering wheel. It features a generous cabin space that can be as private as a personally owned vehicle and that enables six people to ride simultaneously, facing-to-face. This driverless ride service will offer an entirely new kind of mobility experience in Japan and target a wide range of customers, including business people, families, visitors and more.
The three companies are planning to launch the driverless ride service in central Tokyo in early 2026. The service will start with dozens of Cruise Origins, and then expand to a fleet of 500 such vehicles. The three companies plan to subsequently expand and scale the service to areas outside of central Tokyo.
“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,” said Kyle Vogt, founder and CEO of Cruise. “All of our work scaling in dense urban US markets will position us well to address the huge opportunity for autonomous vehicles in Japan.”
“GM has always been invested in defining the future of transportation and that’s more true today than ever,” added Mary Barra, chair and CEO of GM. “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.”
“Honda is striving to create the ‘joy and freedom of mobility’,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Global CEO of Honda. “Through our driverless ride 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.”