Google’s sister company Waymo and General Motors subsidiary Cruise have taken the next step on their business journeys to deliver driverless taxi services by getting permission to charge for rides in parts of California.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has issued “Drivered Deployment permits” to allow for passenger service in autonomous vehicles, although it stipulates there must be a safety driver present in the vehicle.
Notably, Cruise and Waymo are authorised to collect fares from passengers for this service and may offer shared rides.
Prior to the permits being issued for “Drivered Deployment”, Cruise and Waymo had been permitted
to provide passenger service only on a testing basis, with no fare collection permitted.
The CPUC allows carriers who hold a Drivered Pilot permit in good standing to request conversion of that permit into a Drivered Deployment permit. These carriers must hold a valid California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Deployment permit and meet the requirements of the CPUC Drivered Deployment programme. After review of applications by Cruise and Waymo, the CPUC says it determined that the two companies meet these requirements.
Cruise may now provide Drivered Deployment service on selected public roads in San Francisco between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am at speeds of up to 30 mph. Waymo may provide Drivered Deployment service in designated parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties at any time of day or night at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. Neither company is authorised to operate during heavy fog or heavy rain.
(Picture – Cruise)