The race to provide the first self-driving taxi service won’t start in 2019. Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann of Cruise confirmed the service will not be rolled out in the near future. However, Google’s Waymo is not far behind and may have the driverless taxi service available in 2020.
Cruise has raised over $7 billion from investors including General Motors and Honda for a self-driving taxi service. However, the taxi service will not be rolled out until Cruise, “can safely deploy at scale in San Francisco”( Dan Ammann)
Legal Infrastructure Lacking for Self-Driving Cars
British Columbia is not ready for a driverless taxi service even if Cruise could provide the service in 2020. Our current government has done virtually nothing to get our roads prepared for self-driving cars. We do not have the legislation in place to allow vehicles on BC roads without human drivers.
BC is well positioned geographically to become a hub for self driving taxi services. However there have been no significant steps to build this industry. Our current automobile system is highly dependent on a state-run auto insurance company. The government has become reliant on insurance premiums generated from existing drivers.
To allow a large scale deployment of a self-driving taxi service the BC government will have to work with companies like Waymo and Cruise to develop supporting structures. The current state run insurance system will need to allow the self-driving vehicle to be responsible for the functions of driving.
Legal regulators in British Columbia need to set rules on how the driverless taxi service will be measured, validated and licensed.