Navigating the future: Honda, GM, and Cruise’s autonomous ridehail service

Honda GM Cruise Origin Driverless Ridehail Service
The Cruise Origin is an autonomous taxi with seating for six people facing each other, operated and accessed through a dedicated smartphone app. Images courtesy Honda

A monumental stride in automotive innovation has been unveiled as Honda, GM, and Cruise join forces, announcing their strategic collaboration in a Memorandum of Understanding. This powerhouse trio plans to launch an unprecedented driverless ridehail service in Japan by early 2026, charting a transformative course in urban mobility.

Central to this initiative is the Cruise Origin—a remarkable self-driving vehicle. Crafted through the shared expertise of GM, Cruise, and Honda, the Cruise Origin stands as a beacon of autonomous transportation. It removes the conventional driving apparatus, offering a commodious cabin with no driver’s seat or steering wheel, and the adaptability to accommodate up to six passengers in a face-to-face seating arrangement.

The technology is customer-centric. An intuitive smartphone application is designed to streamline the user experience, managing everything from ride requests to payment procedures, ensuring seamless customer interactions with the service.

Tokyo is set as the initial stage for this remarkable service. Planned for a 2026 introduction, the inaugural fleet comprising dozens of Cruise Origins will grace Tokyo’s streets, with an expansion vision that aspires to bolster the fleet to 500 vehicles. The scope of this transformative service is not limited to Tokyo’s heart, as there are robust plans for further geographical diversification.

Cruise Origin Driverless Ridehail Service
The driverless ridehail service will begin in central Tokyo in early 2026.

A broader perspective underlines this collaboration, where the service transcends transportation utility, reflecting a commitment to societal impact. Addressing Japan’s prevailing transportation challenges, such as the pronounced shortage of taxi and bus drivers, this initiative presents a meaningful solution. A synergistic approach is also evident, as Honda and the joint venture plan to foster collaborative relationships across various sectors, aligning with local governments and a spectrum of transportation services.

Key insights from the leadership of the involved companies underscore the significance of this partnership. Cruise’s CEO and Founder, Kyle Vogt, stated, “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.”

Cruise Origin Driverless Ridehail Service Capacity
The “Cruise Origin” is an autonomous vehicle featuring a spacious cabin for six, offering the flexibility of private or shared rides.

Mary Barra, GM’s CEO, remarked, “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.”

Additionally, Toshihiro Mibe, Honda’s Global CEO, commented, “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.”

Source: Honda