The California DMV has issued a permit to allow Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous technology division, to operate in the state without a backup driver, Cruise CEO Dan Ammann announced in a blog post today.
The autonomous vehicles will be electric Chevy Bolts. The testing will start “before the end of the year,” Ammann wrote.
Cruise originally intended to begin its fully driverless tests at the end of 2019 but delayed the rollout to further develop the safety technology. The California DMV, which administers the state’s driverless test program, allowed autonomous vehicle testing with safety operators since 2014. In 2018, it gave a permit for no-operator testing to Waymo, followed by AutoX, Nuro, and Zoox this year.
In the post, Ammann acknowledged the challenges of operating in San Francisco:
“… 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.
And while it would be easier to do this in the suburbs, where driving is 30–40 times less complex, our cities are ground zero for the world’s transportation crisis. This is where accidents, pollution, congestion, and lack of accessibility collide. Often quite literally.”