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Cruise Automation's self-driving cars can now carry passengers

General Motors' Cruise division received the OK for testing in California.

Aside from the lidar emitters up top and the livery on the side, you'd have a hard time telling this Bolt EV apart from a regular one.

Cruise Automation

General Motors' Cruise Automation division may be a step closer to a self-driving ride-hailing service after its latest permit from the State of California.

The state gave Cruise permission to carry passengers and test its self-driving cars, based on Chevrolet Bolt EVs, according to a document dated Feb. 19. Cruise joins an exclusive list of companies that may also carry passengers, but according to the permit, a human safety driver must be onboard.

The company did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment.

The news appears to point Cruise in the direction of a ride-hailing service, which parent company General Motors planned to launch last year. Ultimately, work to "commercialize" the self-driving cars never came to fruition. This year could change things, especially as rival Waymo plans to expand its Waymo One service in Arizona.

Waymo operates a paid ride-hailing service with its own autonomous vehicles for a select group of people; the service is not open to the public yet. Cruise could follow a similar format. Right now, the firm does pilot a very limited service called "Cruise Anywhere" for employees.

While the company continues to test its technology, it eyes the bigger picture: a big piece of GM's zero crashes and zero congestion goal. Cruise revealed the Origin autonomous taxi last month, which showed off how the company plans to shuttle people around with its technology. With no steering wheel, pedals or driver's seat, the Origin underscores a passenger-centric approach to vehicle interiors.

Now playing: Watch this: Cruise reveals its Origin: An electric, driverless taxi
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