Cruise has obtained a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles that will allow it to give rides to passengers.
The permit will enable Cruise to begin offering rides to passengers at nighttime in certain parts of San Francisco at speeds of up to 30 mph, Reuters reports. Cruise would have to apply for a separate permit with the California Public Utilities Commission to begin charging these passengers for rides. It’s not clear if it plans to file for this permit in the near future, or if it will at first offer rides free-of-charge as part of its ongoing research and development efforts.
Cruise applied to receive this permit back in May of this year, although it was officially awarded to the company this week. The company had initially targeted a 2019 launch date for its autonomous ride-hailing service but was forced to delay the rollout indefinitely, citing a need for additional development and more real-world test miles.
Cruise was awarded a separate permit from the California Public Utilities Commission back in 2020, which allowed it to carry passengers in its Chevy Bolt EV-based test vehicles with a safety driver on board. The company said at the time this permit would allow it to begin offerings rides to business partners and the media to demonstrate the autonomous driving technology it has been working on.
Cruise hopes to eventually launch a fully autonomous ride-hailing service using its Cruise Origin AV. The driverless robotaxi is set to enter production at the automaker’s Factory Zero plant sometime in 2022 and will hit public roads shortly after. The Origin will likely be deployed in San Francisco in the U.S. and will also be put into service in Dubai thanks to a partnership between GM and Dubai’s Road and Transit Authority.