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GM's Cruise Autonomous Arm to Begin Driverless Test by End of Year

The company has had a license to test vehicles with safety drivers since 2015.

Cruise, GM's  (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report autonomous vehicle subsidiary, plans to begin testing its unmanned vehicle fleet in San Francisco by the end of this year after receiving regulatory approval in California. 

Cruise said that it has received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles allowing the company to conduct tests without a human backup driver present. 

The company has had a license to test vehicles with safety drivers since 2015. 

The permit allows the company to test on designated streets within San Francisco not exceeding 30 miles per hour during any time of day or night. The permit restricts testing during heavy fog or heavy rain. 

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Cruise is the fifth company to receive a driverless testing permit in the state and 60 companies have an active permit to test autonomous vehicles with a safety backup present. 

Cruise CEO Dan Ammann noted that despite coronavirus pandemic lockdowns "the killing of Americans on our roads accelerate to the fastest rate in 15 years."

"City dwellers, in a sad twist on social distancing, are now buying more cars than ever. Traffic won’t just come back, it will suck worse than ever. But self-driving cars, which can be shared safely and efficiently, will reduce congestion dramatically and permanently," Ammann said.

GM has initiated several green initiatives in recent years. 

Two weeks ago, GM partnered with First Solar to supply solar energy to three of its factories in the Midwest, the automaker said on Wednesday.