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General Motors (NYSE:GM) has announced that autonomous vehicles subsidiary Cruise has received a permit to test driverless vehicles in San Francisco.

Unmanned autonomous vehicles expected in San Francisco this year

The company announced that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had granted it a permit to do away with the autonomous vehicles’ human backup drives. However, the five vehicles the company will be testing will be limited to specific streets, and speed limits will not exceed 30 miles per hour.

In a Medium post, Dan Ammann, the CEO of Cruise, said that before the end of this year, the company will send driverless cars without gasoline to the streets of San Francisco. Ammann said that the safe removal of the human driver is a benchmark for having self-driving vehicles and because doing away with fossil fuels in cars is the future of transportation.

Cruise, which is majority-owned by GM with investment from SoftBank Group and Honda, has been piloting 180 self-driving vehicles in San Francisco with a driver behind the wheel for safety purposes. However, with the permit, the cars will roam without drivers, but it is still early to expect a full launch.

More companies working on autonomous vehicles

Interestingly it is not the only Cruise that has received approval to test driverless cars, but this is a huge milestone for the company to bring its privately run fleet to the public without a driver. Some of the companies that the CDMV authorized to test driverless cars are Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Zoox, Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Wymo, Nuro, and Autox Technologies.

Ammann, a former president of GM, said that Cruise is expected to be the first company to have an unmanned autonomous vehicle on a major city’s streets. However, he didn’t indicate when the company will launch the vehicles commercially for cargo or passengers. Last year the company halted plans for a commercial launch of the driverless car in San Francisco because they needed more testing. The company says that the commercial launch of the vehicles will be based on safety.

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