GM's Cruise gets permit to give driverless rides to passengers in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - General Motors Co’s Cruise self-driving car subsidiary said on Thursday it has become the first company to receive a permit to deploy driverless ride-hailing services from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Cruise may give rides for free with the new permit, but it would need to obtain another permit from the California Public Utilities Commission to start charging passengers for rides.

Reuters in May reported that Cruise and Alphabet Inc’s Waymo had applied for approval from the California DMV here to deploy their self-driving vehicles in San Francisco, setting the stage for the biggest tests yet of the technology in a dense urban environment.

Cruise in March submitted the applications for driverless operations, whereas Waymo in January applied for autonomous vehicle deployment with safety drivers behind the wheel. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Jane Lee in San Francisco Editing by Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis)