GM-backed Cruise seeks final approval to commercialize robotaxis in San Francisco

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Cruise Origin driverless shuttle Cruise

General Motors-backed Cruise seeks final approval from California in order to start commercializing its robotaxi fleet at San Francisco. Self-driving car startup Cruise submitted a permit to operate an autonomous vehicle with the California Public Utilities Commission on Friday. This is the sixth permit required by the CPCU or California DMV in order to start charging riders for rides. It is not clear how long the approval and review process will take. Cruise was the first company to apply. According to Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, commercialization will begin as soon as next year, subject to regulatory approval.

Cruise, if approved, could be the first company to run a taxi service without human drivers. The California DMV has approved Waymo, which is supported by Alphabet, to charge for robotaxi rides. However, their permit still requires that a "safety driving" be present in the vehicle in the event of an emergency. The most recent authorization allows Cruise vehicles to operate on public roads in San Francisco between 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. in designated areas, even in light rain or fog. According to the DMV, they can not travel more than 30 mph. Although autonomous vehicle commercialization has proved more difficult than most people anticipated, Waymo and Cruise are still considered the leaders in this field. In 2019, Cruise was to launch a ride-hailing system for San Francisco residents. To conduct additional testing and get the regulatory approvals required, Cruise delayed these plans for that year.

General Motors Cruise test cars Source: General Motors