San Francisco—General Motors Company’s Cruise & Alphabet Inc. The self-driving car subsidiaries of Waymo on Thursday became the first companies in California to receive autonomous vehicle permits to offer rides to passengers.
Cruise has obtained a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to offer driverless rides to passengers at night in parts of San Francisco, and Waymo has asked the regulator to deploy autonomous vehicles with safety drivers behind the wheel. A permit has been obtained.
The DMV said it would allow commercial service for companies, but added that they would need to obtain another permit from the California Public Utilities Commission in order to start charging passengers for rides.
Another company, Nuro, received a California self-driving deployment permit last year, but that was for the delivery of goods, not passenger rides.
The California DMV said the new permit would allow Cruise to operate its vehicles “within designated parts of San Francisco” between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at a maximum speed limit of 30 mph.
The DMV said Waymo vehicles that have safety drivers behind the wheel are approved to operate on public roads in parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties with speed limits exceeding 65 mph.
The two companies have intensified testing in San Francisco, with Cruz using GM’s electric Bolt EV vehicles and Waymo driving the Jaguar all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV.
Waymo began public testing in San Francisco in August, with a backup driver behind the wheel. Waymo has hailed paid, driverless rides through its app in limited suburban areas in Arizona.
Waymo wrote on Twitter on Thursday that its “new permit will help us advance our efforts to bring our AV technology to many more CA residents.”
Self-driving startups are rushing to commercialize the expensive technology and raise new funds, hampered by technical constraints, after missing their earlier deadline for deployment.
Cruz, which also counts SoftBank and Honda as investors, raised $2.75 billion earlier this year from investors like Walmart, while Waymo raised $2.5 billion this year.
In May, Reuters reported that Cruise and Waymo had earlier this year applied for approval from the California DMV to deploy their self-driving vehicles in San Francisco for the technology’s largest-ever tests in dense urban environments. was setting the stage.
By Hyunju Jin, Zhen Lanhi Lee and Paresh Dave
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times