Cruz has been slowly allowing the public to board one of its driverless taxis on the streets of San Francisco since February, but so far the company has not been able to hire.
The self-driving technology startup, whose main shareholder is General Motors, last week allowed the California Public Utilities Commission to start charging for its rides. Anyone looking to take a cruise driverless taxi will still need to sign up for the company’s website and wait for an invitation.
Commercialization of its services is a major milestone for the company, which was founded in 2013. However, it will take some time to zip up a large fleet of cruise driverless taxis around San Francisco.
Cruise currently has permission to operate 52 so-called robotics in the city, but only between 10pm and 6am, when the roads are mostly empty. Vehicles are limited to 30 miles per hour and cover certain parts of the city, avoiding busy areas such as the Market Street Business Corridor, although it is expected to expand in a few months.
Cruise vehicles rank at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving ability, as they are limited in the area in which they can operate. The ultimate goal is Level 5, where driverless cars are able to move at the same level as a human driver. Although Level 5 may be a decade or more away, companies are already offering commercial services involving Level 4 cars. Alphabet’s Waymo One service has been up and running in parts of Phoenix, Arizona for the past three years, and China’s Baidu launched its Apollo Go service in Beijing last year.
Cruise driverless taxis are based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Eventually, Cruise will switch to using its own shuttle vehicle, known as Origin, the design of which was first shown in early 2020. In addition to passenger transport, Cruise is focusing on delivering goods The company is working closely with retail giant Walmart, one of its investors, to test a delivery service.