Cruise, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of GM that also has backing from SoftBank Vision Fund, Microsoft and Honda, has secured a permit that will allow the company to shuttle passengers in its test vehicles without a human safety operator behind the wheel.
The permit, issued by the California Public Utilities Commission as part of its driverless pilot program, is one of several regulatory requirements autonomous vehicle companies must meet before they can deploy commercially. This permit is important — and Cruise is the first to land this particular one — but it does not allow the company to charge passengers for any rides in test AVs.
“In order to launch a commercial service for passengers here in the state of California, you need both the California DMV and the California PUC to issue deployment permits. Today we are honored to have been the first to receive a driverless autonomous service permit to test transporting passengers from the California PUC,” Prashanthi Raman, Cruise’s director of Government Affairs said in an emailed statement to TechCrunch.
Tesla has started using cabin cameras in some Model 3 and Model Y vehicles to make sure drivers are paying attention to the road when they use driver assistance features, according to release notes obtained by CNBC.
Their Model 3 and Model Y cars already had driver-facing cabin cameras, but the company’s owners manuals said they were not used for driver monitoring. Instead, Tesla’s systems required drivers to “check in” by touching the steering wheel, which is equipped with sensors.
Now, Tesla is telling drivers their cabin cameras have been switched on for driver monitoring in new vehicles that lack radar sensors, according to Kevin Smith, a second-time Tesla buyer in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Smith says he took delivery of a 2021 Tesla Model Y crossover on Thursday.
German lawmakers greenlit a bill that would allow for some autonomous vehicles to hit public roads as early as next year. But those looking for a driverless joyride on the Autobahn will still have to wait.
Driverless busses and other autonomous vehicles could soon hit the streets of Germany after lawmakers in the lower house of parliament approved new rules for self-driving cars. The measure now passes to the upper chamber or parliament, the Bundesrat, for approval before it can take effect. Once approved, it would be the world’s first legal framework for integrating autonomous vehicles in regular traffic, according to the German government.
What will be allowed?
The bill, passed by Bundestag lawmakers in a late-night session on Thursday, changes traffic regulations to allow for autonomous vehicles to be put into regular use across Germany. The bill specifically concerns vehicles with fully autonomous systems that fall under the “Level 4” classification — where a computer is in complete control of the car and no human driver is needed to control or monitor it.
With a growing war chest and an enviable collection of blue-chip partners, Nuro is one of the hottest startups in the autonomous-vehicle industry.
Founded by two early members of Google’s autonomous-vehicle project (which has since spun out as Waymo), the startup is developing self-driving delivery vehicles. Nuro aims to one day eliminate delivery fees while offering a wide range of products, including food, groceries, and prescriptions.
Since its 2016 founding, the startup has run pilots with Walmart, CVS, and Domino’s Pizza while raising $1.5 billion and earning a $5 billion valuation. Insider asked three of Nuro’s investors — Baillie Gifford, Greylock Partners, and Toyota’s Woven Capital subsidiary — why they took stakes in the startup.