Californians will soon be able to hail a driverless taxi for the first time. Autonomous car company Cruise is on track to operate driverless taxis in San Francisco after winning California’s first driverless deployment permit on Thursday.
The permit allows it to charge passengers for driverless rides. It is announce by chief operating officer Gil West in a blog post. The cruise will use a fleet of 30 completely driverless all-electric Chevrolet Bolts to ferry passengers around parts of the city. Those Bolts are currently building at the Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township.
The public can test Cruise’s vehicles since February. But now, you have to pay to get pick up without anyone behind the wheel.
West said moving into commercial operations was a major milestone for the autonomous vehicle industry: “And it’s a giant leap for our mission here at Cruise to save lives, help save the planet, and save people time and money.”
Cruise is the San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle company in which GM owns an 80% stake.
“We received the first-ever Driverless Deployment Permit granted by the California Public Utilities Commission. It allows us to charge a fare for the driverless rides we are providing to members of the public here in San Francisco,” said Cruise COO Gil West in a blog statement. “This means that Cruise will be the first and only company to operate a commercial, driverless ride-hail service in a major U.S. city.”
Such vehicles will include an array of technology. It includes radar sensors, cameras, and AI-driven object recognition to ensure safety.
There are speculations that Autonomous vehicles will help reduce congestion, decrease the number of crashes, and make cars more accessible for those who can’t drive.
This will be the year that the potential of driverless cars realizes as Cruise joins an exclusive list of companies operating commercially. In May, competitor Argo AI launches its operations in Miami and Austin.
Waymo, Google’s driverless car company, has been offering rides in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, for years. It announces in March that it was expanding to downtown Phoenix and to San Francisco for Waymo employees.