GM will test fully driverless cars in SF later this year

The company’s Cruise unit received the necessary permit from California’s DMV.

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02 May 2019, US, San Francisco: A self-propelled car of the General Motors company Cruise is on a test drive in downtown San Francisco. Photo: Andrej Sokolow/dpa (Photo by Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images)
picture alliance via Getty Images

General Motors and its self-driving car unit Cruise say they’ll start testing unmanned autonomous vehicles in San Francisco by the end of 2020 (via NBC News). On Thursday, the subsidiary said it received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that allows its autonomous vehicles to operate in the state without a backup human driver at the wheel. In the past, the DMV has granted similar permits to Waymo and Amazon’s Zoox.

“We’re not the first company to receive this permit, but we’re going to be the first to put it to use on the streets of a major US city,” Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a Medium post. That claim is likely to irk Waymo and the residents of Phoenix. At the start of October, the Alphabet subsidiary started opening up its Waymo One service to the city’s wider population.

“This is where years of blood, sweat, and tears have been poured out by everyone on the Cruise mission,” he added. “And it’s where over two million miles of city testing will truly hit the road for the first time: an electric car, driving by itself, navigating one of the most difficult driving cities in the world.”

Notably, Cruise didn’t say when it will let regular customers book its driverless cars. Last year, the company delayed the rollout of its commercial self-driving service to give itself more time to conduct testing.

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GM will test fully driverless cars in SF later this year