Cruise employees, a self-driving subsidiary General Motors, will become the first to hop in one of its autonomous vehicles, which operate in San Francisco with no human driver. The public can also ride the vehicle, but no fare will be charged.
Kyle Vogt, Cruise founder, CTO, president, was said to be the first person to drive the driverless AV. He gushed about it on Twitter.
1) Monday night was an unforgettable night. I am still speechless. I was able to ride in the *driverless* robotaxi for the first time ever on the streets of San Francisco. This was ride #1 for @Cruise. Full story and vids below.https://t.co/GDjVcvMrvK Kyle Vogt (@kvogt) November 3, 2021
Vogt tweeted that Monday night at 11 pm, we launched our first AV without anyone in it. We have been using humans as passengers or drivers for testing, so this was the first time. It started to roam the streets, waiting for a ride request. I downloaded the Cruise app at 11:20pm and got my first ride. After just a few minutes, a Cruise AV (named Sourdough), pulled up to me. The car was empty. I hit the start button, and the car pulled into traffic.
Vogt stated that he also requested five additional rides that night. According to Cruises driverless deployment permit, which was issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to the company, it can only operate at a maximum speed of 30 mph and between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The permit was granted to Cruise in October. It allows the company the freedom to use its vehicles without the assistance of a human, and also allows them the right to charge delivery fees, but not ride-hailing.
Cruise's first humanless deployment occurs just a week after Mary Barra, GM CEO, stated that Cruise is confident it will start commercial driverless ride-hailing operations and delivery operations next year. Cruise is yet to apply to the California Public Utilities Commission for the final permit to operate robotaxi services. Cruise employees and the general public will not be able to ride around in Sourdough or other human-less ATVs until then.