GM-backed autonomous vehicle startup company Cruise has received a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that enables Cruise to collect fares from passengers. Previously, Cruise was allowed to provide passenger services on a testing basis only and was not allowed to charge for those services.
Per a recent report from Reuters, the CPUC issued Cruise a “Drivered Deployment” permit on Monday, enabling Cruise to charge for passenger services in its autonomous vehicles, but stipulating that a safety driver must be present. The CPUC also issued a Drivered Deployment permit to Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary at Alphabet.
Cruise applied for the permit late last year.
As GM Authority reported yesterday, Kyle Vogt announced via social media that he has signed on as the full-time CEO at Cruise. Vogt previously served as Cruise president and chief technical officer, but was appointed as interim CEO in December following the departure of Cruise CEO Dan Ammann.
Cruise also recently filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for approval of production and deployment of the self-driving Origin robotaxi. Cruise unveiled Origin in January of 2020, debuting GM’s first fully driverless vehicle. Offering roughly the same exterior dimensions as a traditional crossover, the Cruise Origin provides abundant space for passengers, with a pair of opposing bench seats for sitting. The interior also is equipped with roof-mounted screens that provide customers with information about their trip. Looking ahead, Cruise hopes to deploy Origin to operate an app-based ride-hailing service similar to Uber or Lyft.
Thus far, Cruise has developed its autonomous vehicle technology via a fleet of upgraded Chevy Bolt EVs. The upgraded Bolts have successfully roamed the streets of San Francisco without a human pilot on board, much to the astonishment of members of the public who have taken a ride.