GM’s autonomous vehicle division, Cruise, is pushing back on claims that its driverless cars are illegally double parking.
According to a recent report from Reuters, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has stated that Cruise autonomous vehicles currently deployed in San Francisco are not allowed to double park or block traffic while performing stops. The agency is calling to deny Cruise’s permit to test autonomous vehicles in the city until the technology can demonstrate greater competency.
In response, Cruise has stated that state law allows commercial vehicles to park away from the curb when reasonable while loading or unloading passengers.
“Cruise’s operations thus are not only explicitly legally permissible under the Vehicle Code but are consistent with the lawful operation of other commercial vehicles registered in California,” Cruise stated in a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Monday. The CPUC will have final authority over awarding Cruise with a permit to begin charging the public for rides using the Cruise autonomous vehicle service.
Additionally, the SFMTA raised concerns that Cruise was failing to provide service to low-income and minority neighborhoods, as well as failing to accommodate passengers with wheelchairs. Cruise said that its autonomous vehicles could accommodate a foldable wheelchair and passenger in the backseat.
Back in January of 2020, General Motors unveiled Cruise Origin, its first fully driverless vehicle, ready for production. The interior is equipped with opposing bench seats for passengers, as well as digital screens providing the passengers with information like the trip itinerary. Cruise Origin is also full electric, leveraging GM’s Ultium battery technology for motivation.
Back in October of this year, Cruise was awarded a permit to begin offering fully autonomous rides to passengers in certain areas of San Francisco. Speeds are capped at 30 mph. In order to begin charging a fee for these rides, Cruise will require an additional permit from the CPUC.
Full series production of the Cruise Origin AV is expected to launch at the GM Factory Zero facility in Michigan either next year or in 2023.