WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Up until now a safety driver has had to be in self-driving cars in case they needed to take control quickly, but now that driver’s gone.
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The era of commercial autonomous robotaxi service is finally here, just months after the state of California relaxed its rules and let autonomous vehicle manufacturers remove the requirement for a person to be sitting in the drivers seat ready to take control if their self-driving cars go haywire – or get confused and hacked by stickers and sabotaged road markings …
This week Cruise officially became the first company to offer fared rides to the general public in a major city, and the milestone comes after Cruise received official approval from the California Public Utilities Commission in early June to operate driverless in a commercial capacity.
The Future of Mobility, by Keynote Matthew Griffin
Initially, Cruise’s driverless autonomous offering will operate only between 10PM and 6AM, and only on designated streets in the city. But the limits are part of a plan by regulators and the company to prove out the safety and efficacy of its system before deploying it in more locations at additional times. The new operating window already extends its total active time by 1.5 hours as compared to the free driverless test pilot service it was offering between June of last year and the debut of this paid service.
However, while it might sound like Cruise is still a way away from offering services 24/7 throughout San Francisco it’s still a major step toward a future where self-driving cars dominate the streets in big cities picking up paying fares and put taxi drivers everywhere out of jobs …
See it in action