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Cruise is doubling down on shared autonomous rides with new COVID protocols

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Cruise, the self-driving car company owned by General Motors, is doubling down on the Origin, its steering wheel-and-pedal-less autonomous people mover introduced late last year. With the COVID-19 pandemic discouraging many people from using shared ride services, the company unveiled new safety protocols intended to keep people socially distant during trips and the vehicle sanitized between fares.

Cruise is also applying for permission from the federal government to mass-produce the Origin. The vehicle’s lack of traditional human controls means that the company will need an exemption from the federal government’s motor vehicle safety standards, which require vehicles to have a steering wheel and pedals. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) only grants 2,500 such exemptions a year. (There is legislation to increase that number to 25,000, but it is currently stalled in the Senate.)

In 2018, GM submitted a petition for permission to deploy a fully driverless Chevy Bolt but never received a final response from NHTSA. That exemption will now be withdrawn in favor of the petition related to the Origin, Cruise says.

The new protocols, as well as the exemption, are also meant to send a message that Cruise is still committed to safely launching a shared robotaxi service in the near future. The coronavirus pandemic has jolted the transportation world, leading to a steep drop in ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Those companies are now trying to mount a comeback based mostly on strict rules requiring masks and cleaning supplies.

Cruise hasn’t launched its ride-hail service yet, nor has it revealed an actual working version of the Origin. But the company wants to get ahead of any speculation that COVID will destroy any demand for shared mobility service in the future.

“COVID-19 changed everything, including the way many people think about shared vehicles,” Robert Grant, VP for global government affairs at Cruise, writes in a blog post. “Sharing anything, it now feels, is a threat to our health.”

Grant says that the Origin’s cabin will be fitted with a plastic partition running down the center. Only two passengers will be allowed in the vehicle at a time, and the company’s venting system will keep the air circulating. Masks will be required, and hand sanitizer and wipes will be made available. The vehicle won’t have a driver, so these protocols will only apply to passengers.

Cruise has a beta ride-hailing service, but it’s only available to employees, and the company won’t say when it will be available to the broader public. Cruise also won’t say when the Origin will roll out, but promises to share more information about its production plans in the future. The vehicle will be manufactured at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which was recently renamed Factory Zero.

Cruise is under pressure from its investors, namely Softbank, to launch a commercial taxi service. The company recently received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test fully driverless cars, without human safety drivers, in San Francisco.

The company’s safety drivers have been complaining about a lack of safety standards during the pandemic and subsequent wildfires. They accuse Cruise of deploying its self-driving cars during the spring lockdown in defiance of public health orders banning nonessential travel. And they say Cruise isn’t doing enough to keep them safe during these public health crises.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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