Dec 19, 2022 - News

Driverless car service Cruise gets OK for 24/7 service in all of SF

Cruise car

Cruise received a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles on Thursday to expand its driverless service throughout all of San Francisco around the clock.

Yes, but: Cruise still needs one more permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to be able to charge for its citywide 24/7 service, Axios' Joann Muller reports.

  • The company has not given a timeline on when it'll launch this full, paid service to the public, as it depends on when Cruise gets approval from CPUC.

Why it matters: Proponents of autonomous vehicles argue they can save lives by removing human error in fatal car accidents, but the technology is hard to get right.

State of play: In February, Cruise began operating fully driverless late-night rides in limited parts of San Francisco for free. The hours were limited to 11pm to 5am.

  • Cruise started charging for those rides in June, after receiving a driverless deployment permit from CPUC. It's currently operating its paid driverless service in about 30% of the city, per the company.
  • Cruise says it has completed nearly 700,000 driverless miles in San Francisco since February.
  • Cruise and competitor Waymo are the only companies allowed to offer fully autonomous rides to the public in San Francisco.
  • Waymo, however, is only able to offer free rides for the time being because the company has yet to receive the proper permit.

What to watch: Federal safety regulators last week opened an investigation into Cruise over potential safety hazards related to hard braking and blocking traffic, Axios' Herb Scribner reports.

  • Cruise will "fully cooperate" with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, company spokesperson Drew Pusateri said in an email to Axios.

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