Sustainability Infrastructure

California issues permits for self-driving car services

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Story at a glance

  • Cruise and Waymo were previously permitted to carry non-paying riders on a testing basis as part of the Drivered Pilot program.
  • Cruise will be able to operate at speeds of up to 30 mph on select public roads in San Francisco from 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
  • Waymo vehicles can provide service at any time in designated San Francisco and San Mateo counties with speeds of up 65 mph.

Two companies received authorization in California on Monday to collect passenger fares and offer shared rides in their autonomous vehicles.  

The California Public Utilities Commission issued Drivered Deployment permits to Cruise LLC and Waymo LLC, which will allow passenger service in self-driving vehicles — along with a safety driver. Cruise and Waymo were previously permitted to carry non-paying riders on a testing basis as part of the Drivered Pilot program.  

Cruise will be able to operate at speeds of up to 30 mph on select public roads in San Francisco from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while Waymo vehicles can provide service at any time in designated San Francisco and San Mateo counties with speeds of up 65 mph, according to the commission. Neither Waymo nor Cruise is authorized to operate their vehicles in heavy rain or fog.  

Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said in a statement that autonomous vehicles are a “breakthrough technology,” noting that the permits mark an “important and measured step toward the commercialization and expansion of the service.” 

“As the technology is deployed, we will keep a close eye on the impacts of autonomous vehicles on safety, the environment, and on disadvantaged communities,” Shiroma added.  


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Waymo said in a statement on Twitter that hundreds of riders were involved in the testing process since August and they already have “tens of thousands of riders on the waitlist.” The company added it will begin offering paid trips in the coming weeks.  

Changing America has reached out to Cruise for comment.


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