General Motors’ Cruise subsidiary navigates toward launching a robotic taxi service in San Francisco. The announcement of the move comes two months after the company received California’s permission to test fully driverless cars within the state. And it might compete against Uber and Lyft in the hometown of the leading ride-hailing services.
Cruise is confident enough to send its autonomous vehicles without that safety net, instead monitoring from remote locations and, at least initially, having a company employee sitting within the front passenger seat. That employee won’t have access to the same controls as a backup driver and eventually won’t be sitting in front, according to the company.
California regulators approved new rules on Nov. 19 allowing ride-hailing services to pick up paying passengers in self-driving cars. The companies must get both a safety and a pandemic plan approved to minimize risk for all riders, including those with limited mobility, vision impairments and other disabilities. But Cruise isn’t looking for passengers just yet.