The business of autonomous vehicles is ticking away at a snail’s pace. All the players want to be the first to get their vehicles on the road, but a completely autonomous vehicle hasn’t been cleared for consumers. A small step was taken recently in California when one company was given permission to charge passengers for rides in its autonomous cars.
Cruise Granted Permission
Cruise, the autonomous cars division of General Motors, was cleared by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) to charge fares for to passengers for rides in its robotaxis.
For the past month, the CPUC has been allowing Cruise to be the first autonomous car company to provide test rides around San Francisco in driverless vehicles. Cruise applied for a permit to charge a fee to passengers as well as deliveries.
Last year, Cruise introduced its prototype vehicle, the Cruise Origin. It lacks a steering wheel, pedals, or driving controls. In less than two years, it’s due to start production at GM’s DetroitHamtramck plant.
Microsoft announced earlier this year that it had entered into a partnership with Cruise.
Other Autonomous Car Companies
Seven other companies have CPUC permits as well but can’t provide driverless passenger rides. These include Waymo, Zoox, and Aurora. About 55 companies have California DMV permits to test driverless vehicles. The only one of these companies to receive a commercial permit for its autonomous cars is Nuro, yet it’s not allowed to transport passengers.
Elsewhere, Google’s autonomous car company, Waymo, announced it is working with Google Maps to request Waymo One driverless taxis direct from the Google Maps app. If you’re in the Phoenix metropolitan area, you can use the app to request your ride instead of taking the extra step of opening a separate app after finding your location in Google Maps.
This is the next step for Waymo. It’s been operating in the area for a couple of years. Both Cruise and Waymo are taking relatively small steps for the autonomous cars industry, but it’s been clear for some time that the path needs to go through deliveries and ride-sharing.
One roadblock in the way of autonomous cars has been the number of fatalities attached to them. Read on to learn about the first pedestrian death caused by an autonomous car in 2018.
How long do you think it will be until fully autonomous cars are a regular occurrence on our roads? Would you trust a passenger service that operates through an autonomous car fleet? Let us know in the comments below.