Cruise has applied to receive a permit that will allow it to charge customers for rides in its self-driving vehicles.
The General Motors-owned autonomous car company filed an application with the California Department of Motor Vehicles this week that will allow it to offer self-driving robotaxis for hire, Reuters reports. If awarded the permit, Cruise will then have to file another application with the California Public Utilities Commission in order to start charging customers for rides in the autonomous vehicles.
The Cruise application said it would be offering rides from the late evening to early morning hours at maximum speeds of up to 30 mph. The application also indicated that Crusie has logged two million autonomous driving miles in the city of San Francisco thus far using its fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolt EV-based test vehicles.
Cruise will presumably be offering rides in the Cruise Origin – a fully driverless robotaxi set to enter production at the automaker’s Factory Zero plant in 2022. The automaker’s vice president for EV and EV programs, Ken Morris. said in an internal memo last year that prototype versions of the Cruise Origin would hit the road sometime in 2021. Morris also indicated in the memo that the Origin program had not experienced any pandemic-related setbacks.
“Despite the pandemic, we haven’t missed a beat,” Morris said. “Our EV and AV programs remain on track. In fact, from 2020 until 2025, we will allocate more than $20 billion of capital/engineering resources to our EV/AV programs, which equates to more than $3 billion annually.”
Cruise initially targeted a 2019 launch date for its autonomous ride-hailing service, but later delayed the rollout indefinitely, citing a need for additional development and real-world more test miles.
Cruise rival Waymo has also sought a similar permit to the one Cruise has applied for. Waymo plans to launch a driverless ride-hailing and delivery service in California, but unlike Cruise, will deploy the service with a human safety driver behind the wheel at first. The Waymo application indicates the company plans to offer around-the-clock rides and delivery services in their fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Jaguar I-Pace vehicles at speeds of up to 65 mph. Waymo plans to operate the service in the San Francisco area.
The California DMV told Reuters it is still reviewing both of the applications.