GM's Cruise Becomes California's First Driverless Ride Service

General Motors Co’s GM robotaxi venture Cruise said on Thursday it had secured a commercial permit to charge a fare for driverless rides, much ahead of rivals such as Tesla Inc TSLA and Alphabet Inc’s GOOG GOOGL Waymo.

What Happened: Cruise said the California Public Utilities Commission granted it the Driverless Deployment Permit in the city, after months of trial runs in San Francisco.

“We’ll begin rolling out fared rides gradually, expanding in alignment with the smoothest customer experience possible,” Cruise said.

Cruise is yet to deliver its first profit. CEO Kyle Vogt earlier said a commercial permit would be the beginning of the generation of significant revenue.

See Also: Tesla's Robotaxi To Reach Volume Production In 2024, Elon Musk Sees Unit As A Massive Growth Driver

Why It Matters: Cruise has been offering light-duty driverless rides to passengers at night in some parts of San Francisco between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time.

Waymo has given employees driverless rides in San Francisco since March. It has also been charging for rides in Phoenix, Arizona since 2018. 

The promise of robotaxis as a growth opportunity had prompted Tesla-bull Cathie Wood to buy shares in GM earlier this year after months of dissing the legacy automaker’s stock. 

Wood in April said she was impressed with GM CEO Mary Barra’s work and how she is “really turning that ship around and is focused on Cruise automation."

The popular stock picker, however, said her confidence in Tesla continues to be the “highest” when it comes to autonomous driving. Musk had in April said Tesla’s dedicated robotaxi will achieve volume production in 2024.

Price Action: GM shares closed 1.6% higher at $38.87 on Thursday.

Photo courtesy: Cruise

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