Cruise has kept at least a portion of its self-driving fleet operating in San Francisco during the COVID pandemic. Those vehicles are focused on delivering meals to vulnerable populations in the city, according to Mashable.
This is a great move by Cruise, both because it keeps the vehicles up and running, and because it contributes to a societal need.
Without a larger mission, Cruise might find it hard to justify violating shelter-in-place restrictions by driving on city streets with two vehicle operators inside a prototype autonomous vehicle. But Cruise’s mission transforms the testing operation into an “essential” service, and justifiably so.
The goal of self-driving cars is to serve our communities in dangerous times and situations, like the pandemic in which we now find ourselves. The autonomous technology may not have fully arrived yet, but Cruise shows how we can achieve some of those goals in the here and now.