Cruise has finally launched an Android app for ridehailing, giving potential customers in San Francisco the option to call one of its robotaxis even if they're not iPhone users. The self-driving car company told Engadget that 20 percent of its waitlisters are on Android, and an app for the platform is one of people's most-requested updates on social media. Cruise's new Android app will come with all the upgrades the iOS app has received since it launched, including the ability to drop a moveable pin on the map by long pressing on the screen.
The company recently started operating in all areas of San Francisco 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees have been able to hail robotaxi rides from across the city at all hours for months, but Cruise opened daytime rides to public "power users" in specific portions of the city back in April. To note, when Cruise secured the first ever driverless deployment permit issued by the California Public Utilities Commission last year, it was only given permission to operate in select areas of San Francisco from 10PM to 6AM.
Passengers with Android phones who become power users, or customers who sign up to test beta features and to send feedback to Cruise for free rides, will be able to hail daytime rides. A spokesperson also told us that Cruise is continuing to expand the availability of daytime rides in San Francisco, so even paying customers will eventually be able to use the service. When the company announced its 24/7 operations, Kyle Vogt, its CEO, said that we'll soon see Cruise "open up full operations in other cities." He said "operating robotaxis in SF has become a litmus test for business viability," and that if the technology can work there, "there's little doubt it can work just about everywhere."