In 2022 Cruise launched a Research Rider pilot program led by Professor William (Billy) Riggs of the University of San Francisco (USF) [Autonomous Vehicles & the City Initiative] to better understand how AV service could fill transportation needs for USF students. The goal of the program, led in partnership with professor Shivani Shukla and USF-Cruise Innovation Fellow Niel Schrage was to create a partnership between industry and academia (students, faculty and staff) to help address lingering transportation policy challenges in the cities. As part of the pilot program, Cruise serviced geographies and areas close to the USF campus and student housing, during off-peak / late night hours when transit served students least—initially offering free rides between the hours of 11pm and 5am. The Research Rider pilot program explores how individuals use autonomous vehicles, and whether the availability of this new mode of autonomous service may change travel behavior when riders are provided access to it as a part of the pilot program. This research is particularly salient, given that Cruise has regulator Given these opportunities, this project seeks to: (i) address transport policy challenges such as transit deserts, congestion and increased sustainable modes, (ii) evaluate the customer experience for operational competitiveness, (iii) outline the market opportunities and customer acquisition, and (iv) assimilate data for a well corroborated revenue model. : https://www.usfca.edu/management/autonomous-vehicles
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