Cruise gets approval for California’s first robotaxi service

Robotaxis is now a real thing in California.

On Thursday, state officials green-flagged the launch of a fare-based ride-hailing business with driverless cars.

Robotic-powered Chevy Bolt EVs will be rolled out by autonomous vehicle maker Cruise in the coming weeks. The San Francisco company, owned by General Motors, did not say how many.

With a license from the California Public Utilities Commission, Cruise became the first commercial robotaxi business in the state and the second in the US. The first company was launched in 2020 by Alphabet-owned Waymo in Chandler, Ariz.

While driverless cars have roamed the streets of San Francisco for years, they’re still staffed with drivers that are safe for humans or, if completely unmanned, still. company employees.

Potential customers of the new service will be able to download an app for the service, the company said, but may not be approved for some time until the number of Cruise control robots deployed in San Francisco grows. . The company says fares will be similar to what ride-hailing companies charge.

The advent of driverless cars has taken longer than the industry promised in the last decade, as startups hyped the future while raising venture capital and driving growth. push friendly regulations.

Driverless cars are still far from being rolled out on a full-scale, and the ability to offer them to individual buyers seems a long way off.

Self-driving cars aren’t expected to be able to drive everywhere in all weather conditions for many years – if at all. But robotaxi businesses designed to operate in limited geographic areas – known as geographies – are starting to appear in the US and in China.

Argo, a robotaxi service largely owned by Ford, announced in May that it would be sending employees around parts of Miami and Austin, Texas, in completely driverless vehicles, with a project guess is a commercial service at a date the company has not disclosed. Las Vegas has plenty of experimental robots from several companies, though most still include a human-safe driver behind the wheel.

Baidu and have launched a completely unmanned commercial robotaxi service in China.

Dozens of companies continue to test driverless cars on public roads in California, with test permits issued by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has promised since 2016 that there will be a Tesla-driven robot within the next year or two. The company has been testing the robotaxi technology on public roads using its customers as test drivers. The DMV, which has held other companies to a different standard, said it was rethinking its stance on the issue. Cruise gets approval for California’s first robotaxi service

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