Driverless rideshare service Cruise re-launching in Dallas, hoping to win back public trust


The Dallas fleet won’t engage their autonomous systems. Instead, each vehicle will be operated by a human driver and they’ll only drive through a limited area.

DALLAS — More than 6 months after rideshare start-up Cruise put a nationwide pause on all its driverless operations, the company is re-launching in Dallas this week. 

It’s a part of an effort by the company to slowly return to service as it works to regain public trust and overcome safety concerns.

Cruise initially planned to start offering rides throughout Dallas in its fully autonomous robotaxis at the end of last year, but was forced to pump its breaks in October after a series of mishaps across its fleet. Most notably, one of its cars in San Francisco failed to stop and dragged a pedestrian 20 feet down the street, leading to California outright banning the vehicles in the state. A few weeks later, Cruise ceased operations.

The soft launch will see the robotaxis back on Dallas roadways but for now, the vehicles won’t be engaging their autonomous systems. Instead, Cruise says each vehicle will be operated by a human driver and they’ll only drive through a limited geographic area to “create maps and gather road information.”

This “is a critical step for validating our self-driving systems as we work towards returning to our driverless mission,”  Cruise said in a blog post. “This will help inform where we ultimately will resume driverless operations.”

Interim Dallas city manager Kimberly Tolbert wrote in a city hall memo, “Cruise has taken a proactive and collaborative approach in working with the city to rebuild trust in its safety protocols. As such, City staff looks forward to working with Cruise and continuing to collaborate on our shared mission to improve road safety.”  

The re-launch in Dallas follows a similar strategy in Phoenix, where Cruise reintroduced its vehicles to the roads with drivers in April. That same month, Cruise execs met with Dallas city leaders to share its revised approach which included adding a chief safety officer and establishing a cross-disciplinary regulatory team. Then May 31st, the company began conducting the first classroom and hands-on training sessions with Dallas first responders.

It is unclear if or when the vehicles will truly be autonomous in Dallas.