The self-driving company Cruise, owned by General Motors, received the go-ahead from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test driverless vehicles on the streets of San Francisco.
DMV officials announced Thursday that the agency granted Cruise a permit allowing the company to test five vehicles without a driver on designated city streets. Officials did not specify which streets were approved for test operations, but they did note some restrictions. The statement said:
“The vehicles are designed to operate on roads with posted speed limits not exceeding 30 miles per hour, during all times of the day and night, but will not test during heavy fog or heavy rain.”
Cruise is the fifth company the DMV has permitted to test driverless vehicles. The other four companies include Waymo, AutoX, Nuro and Zoox.
According to the statement, companies applying for a driverless test permit must provide evidence of insurance or bond equal to $5 million, verify vehicles are able to operate without driver, meet federal safety standards and confirm vehicles have been tested under controlled conditions that simulate the planned area of operation.
Companies must also notify local government officials of the planned testing.
Currently, 60 companies have a permit from the DMV to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver inside the vehicle — Cruise was awarded that permit in 2015.
Dan Ammann, the CEO of Cruise, wrote on the company’s website:
“Before the end of the year, we’ll be sending cars out onto the streets of SF — without gasoline and without anyone at the wheel. Because safely removing the driver is the true benchmark of a self-driving car, and because burning fossil fuels is no way to build the future of transportation.”
“It will be a low key, quiet moment. But the echo could be loud.”