Sometimes terrible events can be clarifying.
Last fall I wrote about the spike in auto fatality rates and the record-breaking wildfires, and how both situations further underscored the need for safer, cleaner transportation options. Autonomous vehicles aren’t just a nice-to-have. They’re essential for a better future.
But the pandemic also clarified something else for us.
AVs aren’t just a future promise. They must serve the urgent needs of our communities today.
As soon as the shelter-in-place began, food insecurity skyrocketed. In San Francisco, the number of people dependent on The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank nearly doubled, from 32,000 households to nearly 60,000. Cruise responded by committing part of our fleet to delivering groceries and meals alongside the food bank and the SF New Deal.
And we didn’t just deliver a few. Our vehicles delivered over a million meals to primarily low income communities across the city.
The realization was almost startling. The ground our small, inaugural fleet was able to cover and the impact we had in a single city far exceeded expectations.
What happens if we scale that?
We’re going to find out. Today we are officially announcing Cruise For Good, our dedicated social impact program. At the heart of this program is our commitment to pledge 1% of our fleet to serving local communities in need — not just in San Francisco, but everywhere Cruise goes. By joining the Pledge 1% movement, our commitment to our communities grows and scales with us.
As a CEO in an emerging industry, this is a rare opportunity to infuse social impact into our company DNA right from the beginning, and hopefully challenge others in our space to do the same.
As we expand our presence in new markets, it’s incredibly exciting to think about the different ways in which our technology can make a difference. We have so much flexibility, whether we’re providing mobility or delivering necessary supplies, or both. Which is the beauty of AVs. It also means we can keep our Cruise For Good charter clear and maximize our potential for impact:
Partner with nonprofits and organizations that know their communities the best
Serve people who are the most vulnerable
Go where the need is greatest
Cruise for Good represents the best of what our new technology is capable of — improving the quality of life in our cities, especially for people underserved by the limitations of transportation today.
As former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said, “This could be a game changer for millions.”
I couldn’t agree more. And I invite others in our industry to join us. Together, we can be transformational for communities in need all over the world.