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The General Motors-owned self-driving taxi company Cruise has started the process of opening its driverless ride-hailing service to the public in San Francisco.

Cruise uses Chevrolet Bolt EVs equipped with its autonomous driving technology. (Cruise)

The startup outfit, which also counts Honda among its investors, has been testing Chevrolet Bolt electric cars equipped with its autonomous technology without a backup driver on board since last year and is now accepting online applications for San Francisco commuters to give it a try.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra took her first ride in one of the cars last week, and called the experience "surreal" after watching the company develop since GM acquired it in 2016.

GM CEO Mary Barra recently took her first ride with Cruise founder Kyle Vogt in San Francisco. (Cruise)

A Cruise spokesman told FOX Business that "hundreds of friends and family" are already on the waitlist for rides and that new customers will be picked based on the submitted applications, which include where and when prospective riders are looking to use the service.

Cruise and GM are developing a fully autonomous electric shuttle van called the Origin. (Cruise)

Cruise also announced that it has raised an additional $1.35 billion in funding from existing investor SoftBank to help it scale the service.

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Following the closure of a previous funding round last April, which included Microsoft and Walmart, the company said it had a valuation above $30 billion.

Alphabet-owned Cruise rival Waymo currently operates a similar fully autonomous ride-hail scheme in the Phoenix, Arizona, area.

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