Cruise Weighs Expanding Self-Driving Car Tests

Cruise test car
A Cruise test car on display. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

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DETROIT — General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit on March 20 asked California for permission to test the cars across the entire state.

Cruise already is running an autonomous ride-hailing service in its hometown of San Francisco after testing for more than two years. It doesn’t have specific plans yet to expand testing in California, but applying with the Department of Motor Vehicles is a step toward entering cities such as Los Angeles.

“While this application doesn’t represent any immediate change to our testing or operations, we hope to continue working with the California DMV to safely and responsibly test our services in other cities in the future,” Cruise spokesman Drew Pusateri said in a statement.

If granted, the test permit won’t allow Cruise to carry non-employee passengers outside of San Francisco. Testing could be done up to 55 mph statewide, Cruise said.

Cruise also has been testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles, and carrying employees, friends and family members in central Austin, Texas, and parts of Phoenix.

The GM subsidiary is under investigation by U.S. safety regulators for reports that its autonomous robotaxis can unexpectedly come to a halt, potentially stranding passengers. Cruise says it’s cooperating in the probe and has driven 1 million autonomous miles without causing any life-threatening injuries or deaths.

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