The application was filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and will allow the company to charge customers a fare to take a ride in one of its autonomous robotaxis without a safety driver in the front seat.
“Cruise has hit another important milestone today as the first company to apply for the final state permit required to launch an autonomous ride-hail service in California,” Prashanthi Raman, Cruise’s head of global government affairs said in a statement last week, as quoted by Bloomberg.
A report from Reuters published in May of this year indicated Cruise had already applied for this application. It’s not clear if the application Raman is referring to is the same as the one filed in the spring, or if that filing was rejected and this is an all-new one.
Cruise founder Kyle Vogt appeared in a YouTube video posted to Cruise’s channel last week, which showed him taking the first-ever fully driverless ride in one of the company’s Chevy Bolt EV test vehicles. Cruise obtained a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles last month that allows it to offer rides to passengers at nighttime in certain parts of San Francisco at speeds of up to 30 mph in these vehicles, but this permit does not allow it to charge a fare for the rides.
Going forward, Cruise hopes to operate an app-based ride-hailing service similar to Uber or Lyft using its six-passenger Origin shuttle. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said previously that the Origin would be put into service sometime in 2023. The driverless vehicle will be produced at the GM Factory Zero plant in Michigan alongside the GMC Hummer EV Pickup and SUV.
The Origin will also be deployed in Dubai in early 2023 thanks to a new partnership between GM and Dubai’s Road and Transit Authority. Honda, which is a major backer of Cruise, will also begin testing the Origin in Japan this year with the eventual goal of deploying it on public roads in the country sometime in the future.
Cruise has not yet received a response from the California DMV regarding its application to charge for rides in its autonomous robotaxis.