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Autonomous rideshare rivals Waymo and Cruise have both reportedly applied for permits to charge passengers for self-driving rides in the San Francisco Bay area. Some of the applications are still under review, but it could be a major step toward autonomous rideshare vehicles operating as commonplace soon.

June 7 update: As of June 4, Cruise has been authorized by the CPUC to provide driverless autonomous vehicle passenger service in test vehicles. According to the CPUC press release:

Cruise is the first entrant into the CPUC’s Driverless Pilot program, in which passengers can ride in a test vehicle that operates without a driver in the vehicle. Cruise may not charge passengers for any rides in test AVs.

It now appears Cruise has a jump on Waymo, at least in cutting through the red tape with permits, but it’s still waiting for its driverless deployment permit from the DMV. Waymo has received a permit from the CPUC, but is currently authorized for driving permits only, not driverless like Cruise.


Waymo was launched in 2009 by Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc., as a self-driving car project. In 2016, the Google project was officially renamed Waymo, derived from “a new way forward in mobility.” Since then, Waymo has tested its various self-driving vehicles in several states. Furthermore, it has been charging driverless rides for people in Chandler, Arizona, since 2019, apart from a slight halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cruise is a younger company founded in 2013 in San Francisco. In 2016, General Motors (GM) purchased Cruise, focusing on making the automaker’s Bolt EV fully autonomous, backed by $14 million in funding. While both Waymo and Cruise have operated their respective autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, these rides have remained on a testing basis only up to this point.

Waymo and Cruise apply for DMV permits in CA

According to a report from Reuters, state documents in California reveal that both Waymo and Cruise have applied for permits to begin charging for autonomous rideshare services in San Francisco. Waymo applied for said permits on January 19 of this year, while Cruise followed suit on March 29. According to the report, the California DMV is still reviewing these applications and has not offered a timeline of when they will offer a decision.

In its application, Waymo stated it has logged over 83,000 autonomous miles in the San Francisco area, although its total autonomous miles are much higher. Since Cruise is headquartered in SF and has stayed focused on that geographical area since its inception, its permit application claims 2 million logged autonomous miles in San Fran alone.

Waymo Cruise
Waymo’s two current autonomous offerings – the Chrysler Pacifica minivan and the Jaguar I-Pace SUV

Waymo told Reuters that approval of the permit in California would allow the company to begin operating paid rides in autonomous vehicles, although there will be a driver behind the wheel, at least to begin. Waymo also said it might even switch off autonomous mode within its Chrysler Pacifica or Jaguar I-Pace models driving in especially tricky areas, such as freeway ramps and construction zones. This could also apply to less than ideal driving conditions, such as heavy rain and wet roads.

Cruise also stated it could possibly limit its self-driving deployment to more specific routes focused on operating in “non-inclement weather conditions.” The documents also show that Cruise initially plans to operate during the late evening to early morning hours, at speeds up to 30 mph. Waymo, on the other hand, stated plans to operate around the clock with speeds up to 65 mph.

Voyager Cruise self-driving
Cruise’s upcoming Origin vehicle

DMV approval is just the start

While permit approval from the California DMV will be crucial to both Waymo and Cruise in deploying paid autonomous rides, there’s another step after that. Both companies will then be required to apply for a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) before either can begin charging passengers.

At this point, neither tech company has revealed when they intend to launch these rideshare services. A lot will depend on if and when they are approved by the DMV and how quickly they can get that additional permit from the CPUC.

While both Waymo and Cruise offer the same service using similar technology, both have shared very different deployment plans. Contrary to the previous statement of Waymo beginning with drivers behind the wheel, Cruise has stated it is expecting to deploy its vehicles sans humans driver. That could be a big reason behind its decision to operate at non-peak hours at a much slower pace than Waymo.

Check back with our autonomous driving guide for the latest news surrounding these permit applications, as well as self-driving updates from all the automakers.

Electrek’s Take

Regardless of when it actually happens, the reality is that autonomous rideshare implementation is inevitable. We’re also likely to see this tech roll out from companies like Waymo and Cruise before consumer EVs, too. This is based on the strategy of shorter rides at lower speeds that can even be controlled through geofencing. Having major backing from companies like Google, GM, and Honda certainly helps the cause.

The decision to begin with drivers behind the wheel as a safety net feels like a smart move for Waymo, especially as it has much more ambitious plans for an initial rollout than Cruise, pending permits, of course. At the same time, Cruise is taking its own unique approach by skipping the driver altogether and operating at times and in areas with less risk — perhaps a smaller sample size of data but potentially more explicit without driver interference.

Both strategies could prove effective if approved, but they are not alone. Startup Nuro already has the DMV permit from California and is working on autonomous food delivery. So there’s certainly optimism that these companies could see DMV approval, helping the technology lay another paver closer toward cities flush with robotaxis. Driverless burrito delivery sounds pretty cool.


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Sir Elton John to headline Glastonbury in last UK gig of farewell tour after 52 years on the road

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Sir Elton John to headline Glastonbury in last UK gig of farewell tour after 52 years on the road

Sir Elton John is to headline at next year’s Glastonbury Festival in his final ever gig in the UK on what has been billed as his farewell tour after more than 50 years on the road.

The Rocket Man singer will play the Pyramid Stage on the last night of the popular, sold-out event at Worthy Farm in Somerset, which runs from 21-25 June 2023.

Sir Elton said he “couldn’t be more excited” to be appearing at Glastonbury 2023.

Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis has promised it will be “the mother of all send offs”.

The veteran megastar has been performing around the world as part of his marathon Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour which began in September 2018 before it was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “As the end of my Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour comes into view, there is no more fitting way to say goodbye to my British fans.

“They have been beyond brilliant, and have supported me through all the highs and lows of my career.

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“Every week I speak to new artists on my radio show and Glastonbury is often cited as a pivotal moment in launching their careers – the festival’s genuine, enthusiastic support for the best emerging talent is something I’ve long admired.

“I’ve been talking to Emily Eavis about it over the last few weeks and I can’t wait to embrace the spirit of the greatest festival in the world. It’s going to be incredibly emotional.”

Ms Eavis said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to let you know that the one and only Elton John will be making his first ever Glastonbury appearance, headlining the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday night next year.

“This will be the final UK show of Elton’s last ever tour, so we will be closing the festival and marking this huge moment in both of our histories with the mother of all send offs.

“We are so very happy to finally bring the Rocket Man to Worthy Farm.”

The veteran singer’s 300-plus date worldwide run is due to conclude next summer and will mark his retirement from touring after 52 years.

So far it has seen him perform across Europe with shows in Milan, Paris and Frankfurt, and he also recently ended the North American part of the tour at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The final leg will include dates in Australia, New Zealand and European shows next year.

Throughout the tour, the megastar has treated fans to elaborate shows filled with extravagant costumes, spectacular visuals and classics from his catalogue including Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, Your Song and hit recent number one single Cold Heart, which was a collaboration with pop star Dua Lipa.

In 2018, he announced his farewell world tour after deciding to bow out of live performing to spend more time with his two children.

The singer has had a glittering career that has seen him release a hit single in every decade since the 1970s, and notch up worldwide record sales of 300 million.

This year at Glastonbury Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar headlined, with Diana Ross performing in the traditional Sunday Legends slot.

Sir Paul’s Saturday headline slot on the Pyramid Stage saw the former Beatle become the festival’s oldest solo headliner, performing a week after he celebrated his 80th birthday.

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Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny: First trailer revealed as Harrison Ford returns for fifth film

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Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny: First trailer revealed as Harrison Ford returns for fifth film

The first trailer has been released for the new Indiana Jones movie – with the title now revealed as The Dial Of Destiny.

Harrison Ford is back at age 80 as the famous whip-cracking archaeologist, more than 40 years after first playing the character.

Chase sequences, Nazi villains, a huge rolling boulder, and Ford riding a galloping horse through New York City all feature in the clip.

Indy‘s friend Sallah, played by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies, is also back.

He’s heard telling the adventurer: “I miss the sea. I miss waking up every morning wondering what wonderful adventure the new day will bring to us.”

Ford’s character reminisces: “I don’t believe in magic, but a few times in my life I’ve seen things, things I can’t explain.

“And I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe, it’s how hard you believe it.”

More on Harrison Ford

The actor is ‘de-aged’ in many of the sequences and looks similar to how he appeared in the previous films.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge also shows up in the trailer as his goddaughter, while Mads Mikkelsen and Antonio Banderas are the other big names involved.

The Dial Of Destiny is due to be released on 30 June and is directed by James Mangold, the filmmaker behind Le Mans 66, Logan and Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line.

Indiana Jones, along with Han Solo, are the two roles that have defined Ford’s career – and fans will be hoping for a better movie than the last reboot.

Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008) was widely regarded as a disappointment despite being directed by Steven Spielberg, who did the original trilogy.

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Harry and Meghan’s documentary series trailer released by Netflix

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Harry and Meghan's documentary series trailer released by Netflix

The trailer for Harry and Meghan’s new documentary series has been released.

The one-minute preview, released by Netflix, features previously unseen black and white photographs of the couple set to music.

They are heard being asked “Why did you want to make this documentary?” to which Harry replies: “No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors.”

He adds: “I had to do everything I could to protect my family” before Meghan is seen wiping away tears.

The trailer ends with Meghan saying: “When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?”

Images of William and Kate with Harry and Meghan at the Commonwealth Day service in 2020, the Sussexes’ final public appearance as senior working royals, feature among the images.

There are also joyful pictures of the couple kissing while Meghan sits on a kitchen counter, as newlyweds dancing at their wedding, cuddling in a photobooth, and Meghan cradling her baby bump.

But the duchess is also pictured in sadder moments, wiping away tears and sitting with her hands covering her face.

Meghan and Harry. Pic: Netflix
Image:
Meghan and Harry. Pic: Netflix

Netflix describes the documentary, titled Harry & Meghan, as a “global event” and says it is “coming soon” – reports say it will land on 8 December.

It says the show “explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution”.

It features commentary from friends, family and royal historians.

It adds: “The series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other.”

The director, Liz Garbus, is a two-time Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning director.

Harry and Meghan signed lucrative deals – thought to be worth well over £100m- with Netflix and Spotify after quitting the monarchy and moving to the US.

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