All is going for the autonomous vehicles of Waymo and Cruise in California. On September 30, 2021, the two competitors obtained authorization from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to market the services offered with their respective autonomous vehicles. For example, they may offer a delivery service.
However, this new authorization issued by the DMV does not mean that these companies can now bill a passenger transportation service on demand. To do this, Waymo and Cruise must obtain another authorization from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorizing them to charge for robotic taxi rides.
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Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, obtained approval to deploy a fleet of autonomous vehicles for commercial service in parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Cars cannot exceed the speed of 104 km / h and can run even in rain and light fog. Waymo has been able to test autonomous vehicles on public roads with a safety driver since 2014 and was granted a permit to test without a safety operator in October 2018.
Competitor Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, may deploy its fleet of autonomous commercial service vehicles on specific streets in San Francisco. They can travel between 10 am and 6 pm at a maximum speed of 50 km / h and can also travel in rain and light fog. Cruise has been able to test autonomous vehicles on public roads with a safety driver since 2015 and received a permit to test without a safety operator in October 2020.
Note that Cruise can transport people in its autonomous vehicles without having a security operator on board. Rather, Waymo must have a safety driver capable of getting behind the wheel. These two companies are not the only ones who have won this famous sesame from the DMV. Nuro has also obtained approval to implement a commercial service with its autonomous delivery robots. Questioned by TechCrunch, Waymo and Cruise refused to broadcast a tentative timeline for obtaining the latest authorization from the CPUC and the deployment of robot taxi services.