NEW YORK (AP) — Autonomous vehicle taxis are up and running in San Francisco and the public has been invited to try one out.
Employees of General Motors and its autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise have been testing out the service for weeks, but on Tuesday Cruise posted a signup page for anyone to reserve a free ride in one. The cars each have unique monikers, including “Tostada,” “Disco” and “Sourdough.”
In a blog post Tuesday, Interim Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said the company is the first to offer driverless taxis in a major U.S. city and that the milestone triggered an $1.35 billion investment from Softbank, which had already put $900 million into the company. Vogt said the additional capital will allow the company to grow its work force and scale up the driverless technology in San Francisco and into other cities.
Cruise says it is the only autonomous vehicle company permitted to offer rides to the public in driverless cars. It also says it's the only company to apply for a permit to charge for the rides, though that hasn't yet been approved. It's not clear when they expect to be fully operational and charging for rides.
GM said late last year that the technology was on the verge of being released.
GM shares are up almost 2% in afternoon trading. The automaker posts its fourth quarter earnings after the bell Tuesday.