It’s a historic moment, and probably a sign of things to come… Last week, General Motors (GM) began charging for trips in its new fleet of autonomous Cruise model robotaxis in San Francisco, and it hopes to extend to other cities soon.
There aren’t many firms operating completely autonomous vehicles on public roads, and even fewer charge for rides. Only in March did federal officials clear the way for completely autonomous vehicles — which, to be clear, no longer need to include manual controls like a steering wheel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) formally issued the verdict barely a month after GM requested authorization to deploy its driverless Cruise model on public streets, which was first envisioned in 2020. Now its robotaxis prowl the San Francisco streets, open to paying customers.
The concept of self-driving vehicles has long been that they would make driving safer, but the evidence is still sketchy, and a tragic accident during a trial like GM’s may put a lengthy shadow on public view of the technology.
Of course, the issue of employment cannot be disregarded. If self-driving cars become commonplace, they may quickly eliminate numerous employment in taxis, haulage, and other industries, with dire consequences for the economy.
Reference- General Motors Corp. website, Reuters, Wired, Futurism, Inside EVs