Cruise, the self-driving unit of General Motors Co. that operates a robotaxi service in San Francisco, has applied for permission to test its autonomous vehicles across all of California.
Cruise launched a fully autonomous robotaxi service in San Francisco last June. Late last year, it expanded that service to Phoenix and Austin, Texas.
“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. This is the first step in that process.” Cruise spokesman Drew Pusateri said in an emailed statement Monday.
While Cruise hopes to eventually expand its operations in the state, it currently has no specific plans to launch in more cities outside San Francisco, according to Pusateri.
In February, Chief Executive Kyle Vogt said Cruise vehicles had racked up more than 1 million miles driven with no one behind the wheel.
The San Francisco rollout has been bumpy, with multiple reports of its driverless cars stopping suddenly and blocking traffic, spurring complaints from San Francisco lawmakers and an investigation by U.S. safety regulators.
Also see: Watch what happens when police pull over a driverless car in San Francisco
If the permit is accepted, rides would initially be limited to Cruise employees. More licenses would be needed for Cruise to expand its robotaxi service around California.
Rival Waymo, a unit of Alphabet GOOG, -0.52% GOOGL, -0.39%, also runs a driverless taxi service in San Francisco and Phoenix, and plans to start testing fully driverless cars in Los Angeles.
Last week, Cruise announced a partnership with a San Francisco nonprofit to offer free rides in its driverless cars, from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. daily, to service and hospitality workers who get off work late.
Autonomous-driving companies have been hit hard financially as rollouts have come slower than once expected. Earlier this month, Cruise said it would focus on cutting costs this year, according to Reuters. Waymo has laid off about 8% of its workforce this year.
GM shares GM, +0.72% are about flat year to date, but down 23% over the past 12 months, compared to the S&P 500’s SPX, +0.89% 3% gain in 2023 and 11% decline over the past year.
This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.