Scoop: Driverless Cruise cars are already on Houston streets

Cruise is testing autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in Houston ahead of a planned expansion into commercial nighttime service by the end of the year.

Driving the news: A spokesperson for the autonomous vehicle company confirmed to Axios Tuesday it is offering driverless ride-hailing service to employees and their friends and family, one of the final steps in its testing process before full commercial service…

A 2017 Texas law preempts local regulation of autonomous vehicles, which has made the state fertile ground for companies’ expansion.

State law requires companies to follow registration requirements, equip the vehicles with a video recording system and immediately notify authorities of a crash.

Carnegie Mellon associate professor Phil Koopman, an expert in AV safety, told Axios’ Joann Muller that “cities need to have a plan for enforcing traffic laws when there is no driver.”