Waymo’s Self-Driving Cabs Gets Green Light in California

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Waymo’s Self-Driving Cabs Gets Green Light in California

In a significant development for Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle company, Waymo has secured permission to transport passengers in its self-driving cabs in California. The State’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has given Waymo permission to run its self-driving taxis under its Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot.

A Waymo spokesperson told Gizmodo that the permit will let Waymo employees

hail our vehicles and bring guests on rides within our South Bay territory.

In other words, you’ll need to be tight with someone at Alphabet if you want to cruise around Silicon Valley in the company’s self-driving cabs.
The CPUC’s approval is different from the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ permit, which authorises testing of self-driving vehicles on roads. More than 60 companies have permit to test their autonomous vehicles. Though Waymo has permission to use its robotaxis to transport people, it will still have to place a safety driver behind the wheel and should not be charging passengers for their rides.
In order to be eligible for this permit, the company in question must already have an AV testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which Waymo has had since 2014. It operates a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica and Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, both of which are outfitted with the hardware and software capable of autonomy.

Self-Driving Cabs

Self-Driving Cabs: Waymo’s fully self-driving Jaguar I-PACE electric SUV 4.

Waymo One, a commercial self-driving service, launched in December 2018 in Phoenix, Ariz, has been offering rides to more than 400 volunteer testers. Waymo recently announced a partnership with Lyft. It will deploy 10 autonomous vehicles in the coming months that would be available through the Lyft app. There will be safety drivers behind the wheel in this partnership, too.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Waymo

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