Another self-driving startup got gobbled up by incumbents

Promotional image of two men standing next to an electric car.

Enlarge / Cruise CTO Kyle Vogt and Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron. (credit: Voyage)

Two weeks ago, I wrote about reports that Cruise—a self-driving venture co-owned by GM and Honda—was on the verge of buying startup Voyage. Now it’s official: Cruise is acquiring Voyage.

Voyage’s strategy was to launch its first self-driving taxi service at the Villages, a massive retirement community in Florida. The Villages is large enough that people need a car to get around, yet many of its residents are at or near the age where they can’t drive safely. The community had a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, reducing the risk that anyone would be killed if a self-driving car malfunctioned.

In a piece two years ago, I suggested that focusing on a relatively easy application of self-driving technology like this could allow a startup like Voyage to succeed while their larger rivals floundered. I argued that once a company like Voyage has a viable commercial service in a limited area, expanding over time to a larger area and higher speeds would be relatively easy.

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