Oct 23, 2020 - Economy

Driverless car companies are getting back on track after a COVID-19 standstill

Ford's fourth-generation AV. Photo: Ford

Ford's fourth-generation AV. Photo: Ford

Two weeks after Waymo opened up its driverless taxi service to the public in Phoenix, other autonomous vehicle developers are reporting progress, too.

Why it matters: The pandemic temporarily suspended on-road testing at many AV companies, but the past week shows they've been hard at work.

  • Cruise and its major shareholder, General Motors, said they will seek regulatory approval to deploy a limited number of Cruise Origin driverless shuttles in San Francisco.
  • Because the Origin has no steering wheel or pedals, the company may seek an exemption from motor vehicle safety standards for up to 2,500 noncompliant vehicles.
  • The effort comes one week after Cruise received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to test driverless cars on San Francisco streets.

Ford plans to launch its self-driving commercial business in 2022 with vehicles based on the Ford Escape Hybrid crossover.

  • “With our fourth-generation test vehicle, we have everything we need from a vehicle to stand up our self-driving service,” John Davis, chief engineer of Ford’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary wrote in a Medium post.

Motional and Lyft resumed their robotaxi service in Las Vegas this week.

  • Motional is a joint venture between Hyundai and Aptiv.
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