GM’s Cruise gets permit to test AVs without safety drivers in San Francisco

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General Motors’ Cruise unit will be allowed to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in San Francisco without a safety driver, joining Amazon.com Inc.-backed Zoox Inc. and a handful of other self-driving startups.
Cruise is permitted to operate five vehicles without a driver behind the wheel, a step up from approval it received five years ago that required the presence of a person to take control if needed, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said Thursday in a statement.
While some 60 companies have permission to conduct autonomous testing with a safety driver in California, Cruise becomes only the fifth allowed to test a truly driverless mode in the state. Others in that small group include Alphabet Inc. unit Waymo LLC, Nuro Inc., AutoX Technologies and Zoox — which received its permit last month.
Cruise will be allowed to conduct both daytime and nighttime tests on certain public roads with speed limits no greater than 30 mph and only in fair-weather conditions. The company said it plans to start testing by the end of the year.
“We’re not the first company to receive this permit, but we’re going to be the first to put it to use on …

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