GM's Cruise Becomes First Company to Receive Permit to Charge for Autonomous Rides
While mainstream autonomous vehicles are still a few years off in the distance, General Motors' Cruise took one major leap to bringing them one step closer to every major city. As Reuters reports, Cruise became the first company to receive the necessary permit to charge customers for a ride in one of its self-driving vehicles in California.
Autonomous Rides To Start Soon
Earlier this week, the California public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to award Cruise with a driverless deployment permit. It's the last step before Cruise is able to take its autonomous company commercial. The company claims that it "will be the first and only company to operate a commercial, driverless ridehail service in a major U.S. city."
Now that Cruise has the necessary permit, it will begin its autonomous services slowly before ramping things up. The company has plans to begin its autonomous passenger service between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on select streets in San Francisco. The vehicles will have a maximum speed of 30 mph.
While Cruise has the necessary permits to give customers autonomous rides in certain parts of San Francisco, it will need to jump through more hurdles if it wants to expand its commercial business in the rest of the city.
At the moment, Cruise is expected to have a modest fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles that it will use in San Francisco. These vehicles aren't allowed to operate on highways or when heavy rain, fog, snow, or sleet are present.
Cruise Has Been Hard At Work
The news of the permit and the decision to start charging riders for rides in its autonomous vehicles gives Cruise a huge leg up in the race to get autonomous vehicles on the road. Waymo's Alphabet is another one of the few companies to receive a permit from the CPUC, but its permit only allows the company to charge for rides when a human safety operator is present for the duration of the ride.
The new permit doesn't come out of left field. Cruise has been offering people rides in its driverless vehicles in San Francisco since February. The autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs were running from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The company started testing its driverless cars in the city in 2020 and expanded to offering free rides to passengers last June. Last October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles gave Cruise a driverless deployment permit to begin charging for services run by its autonomous cars.
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