The California Public Utilities Commission said Friday that Cruise, a self-driving car service from San Francisco, has been authorized to participate in the state’s first pilot program to provide public services without a driver.
The company has no right to charge passengers for travel.
Eight companies are licensed to test driverless vehicles in California, but Cruise is the only company approved to travel without a passenger on board. However, vehicles still need to be connected to a remote safety operator.
So far, Cruise says his autonomous cars have traveled more than 2 million miles in California. The company also has more than 300 fully electric autonomous vehicles operating in San Francisco and Phoenix.
The cruise was acquired by General Motors in 2016 and has large investments from Softbank, Honda, T. Rowe Price, Microsoft and Walmart.
Today, many vehicles on the road already apply some level of automation technology, which the National Road Safety Administration breaks down at various levels.
Despite the rise of automated vehicle technology, a study by the American Automobile Association in January found that most drivers were reluctant to get into a self-driving car. The survey suggests that only 14% of drivers trust a car to drive all driving, 54% are afraid to try it, and the remaining 32% are unsure.