Waymo Says Ready To Launch Driverless Vehicle Service in San Francisco

The Waymo Alphabet unit said Monday that it is ready to remove safety drivers from its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, without elaborating on a timeline for rolling out a fully driverless service.

Waymo in August began giving free autonomous rides to a limited number of people in San Francisco, with security drivers on board, using its Jaguar electric vehicles.

Waymo CEO Tekedra Mawakana said on Monday that it has given hundreds of people a ‘robo-taxi’ ride over the past six months since the launch in the densely populated city.

The planned driverless operation will mark “a major step in our path to fully autonomous commercial services,” Mawakana said in a blog post.

Waymo and its rival Cruise, majority owned by General Motors, earlier this month obtained a permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allow them to charge riders for travel with safety drivers present in California.

They will need to obtain a separate permit from the CPUC to start collecting fares for driverless passenger services in California.

Waymo declined to comment on the status of its driverless permit application with the CPUC.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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