General Motors previously touted plans to bring its fleet of self-driving cars to New York City in early 2018, but so far, robo taxis haven’t invaded the big apple. Is the NYC plan dead-on-arrival?
Jalopnik reported on Monday that it appears things are stillborn at best. After investigating the manner, and requesting public records filed with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, the documents turned up an intriguing answer, or the lack of documents, to be precise.
“After a diligent search, the Department is not in possession of any records responsive to your request,” the DMV told Jalopnik.
GM has not filed to obtain a permit to test self-driving cars in the state as of September 4, 2018, and both the DMV and GM Cruise, the automaker’s self-driving car subsidiary, offered up similar responses to the discovery. Both said the application process is ongoing and noted the complex regulatory environment. Neither said the program was dead.
A non-profit group pushing for GM Cruise to roll out self-driving cars in NYC also declined to comment on the matter. Tech:NYC threw its support behind GM this past March to help bring the self-driving car tests to the city.
There may also be a political wing to the story. When GM announced its intentions to bring self-driving cars to NYC, Governor Andrew Cuomo championed the announcement. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered up a different response.
“We have very real safety concerns. We are obviously looking forward to some detail on this idea before any cars hit the streets,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said at the time of the announcement. The governor’s office reportedly never consulted with the mayor over GM’s intentions.
In a new statement, the mayor’s office said, “The previous GM pilot was announced by the State without first consulting the City or NYPD, exacerbating those concerns.”
Despite the setbacks, GM still maintains a presence in NYC for its future fleet of self-driving cars. The automaker continues to lease space in the Tribeca district, which reportedly houses a few employees.