On top of the seemingly inevitable future of electric cars, another technological advancement that’s on the brink of becoming mainstream is self-driving technology.
Multimillion startup Tesla is leading the charge in this segment with most of its self-driving models beginning to build a reputation in the industry amid ongoing scrutiny from the public after its autopilot feature caused a fatal accident.
But one thing a lot of people don’t know about Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving or autopilot technology is that it is not full-on self-driving.
The startup company does not offer the technology yet, but it seems that another automaker might be able to do so in the near future.
That company is none other than General Motors, whose autonomous-vehicle division, Cruise, just received approval from the state of California’s Public Utilities Commission to transport passengers in self-driving tests on public highways.
However, the institution made it clear that the Cruise AV, which is based on the Chevrolet Bolt, will still have to be operated by an actual human being who will serve as a backup in case of an emergency.
GM is not the only company to receive a license for the testing, as Waymo and Zoox also did. However, GM is being considered as the first “legacy automaker” to gain approval.
“As we move closer to launch, we want the opportunity to put top candidates, partners, and media into vehicles and this pilot allows us to do that,” Cruise said in a statement.
Moreover, GM is also reportedly planning to expand its testing outside the state of California. The company was revealed to have a pending petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to grant it permission to operate as many as 5,000 driverless vehicles. The NHTSA has previously done this to a California-based company called Nuro, Inc.
The permission granted by the local government of California marks the next stage in GM’s move towards an autonomous future.