The CPUC granted GM permission as part of California’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot program. Two types of permits can be granted as part of the pilot program: a Drivered AV Passenger Service pemit, or a Driverless AV Passenger permit. GM has received a Drivered AV Passenger Permit, so its Cruise test prototypes will still have to have a safety driver on board whilst ferrying passengers around San Francisco.
Cruise said with this permit, they will be allowed to demonstrate the abilities of its autonomous vehicle prototypes to members of the media and potential investors or business partners.
”As we move closer to launch we want the opportunity to put top candidates, partners and media into the vehicles and this pilot allows us to do that,” the company said in a statement.
According to Tech Crunch, Cruise is now one of five self-driving companies involved in the pilot program. Others include Google’s autonomous vehicle offshoot Waymo and lesser-known Cruise rivals such as Zoox, Pony.ai, Aurora and AutoX.
This good news comes after Cruise failed to meet its self-set goal of launching a fully driverless robotaxi service before the end of 2020 due to technical snags with its autonomous platform and in the creation of the ride-hailing app that would enable such a service. Cruise has not said when it expects to launch its driverless taxi service, though it still plans to do so eventually.
To be clear, this permit will not allow the Cruise Origin self-driving vehicle to operate on public roads and carry passengers, as the Cruise Origin does not have traditional driving controls and thus can’t have a safety driver onboard. It’s also not clear when regulations may be changed that would allow the Cruise Origin to operate on public roads.
Source: Tech Crunch