Waymo, Alphabet's autonomous vehicle unit, has received approval to charge for rides in its self-driving taxis in San Francisco. The California Public Utilities Commission gave the business a permit to charge for rides as long as a human welfare driver is in the vehicle.
California appears to require autonomous vehicle firms to acquire a series of permits before they can begin earning money from their vehicles. The state's Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for issuing test permits, while the CPUC determines when those companies can start operating commercially.
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Waymo’s Launch & Safety
Waymo obtained the license as one of the final steps needed before launching a fully fleshed-out robotaxi business. Additionally, the company must obtain a completely separate permit to charge for rides in its driverless vehicles.
Waymo said in a declaration that it would begin charging for rides "within the next few weeks."
Waymo claims that its trustable tester program has "hundreds" of participants. Since August, the company has provided free rides throughout San Francisco to a select group of "trusted testers." These are non-Waymo employees who sign non-disclosure agreements before riding in the company's automated driving.
Waymo representative Nicholas Smith sent an email that the vehicles will be usable "24/7." (Cruise, a competitor in the autonomous vehicle space, has a permit in San Francisco to give free rides to the public in its driverless vehicles, and only at night.)
At the moment, Waymo is testing at least a hundred vehicles in downtown San Francisco and in and around Google's Mountain View headquarters. The firm logged the most independently driven miles of any company permitted to test in the state last year: 2.3 million miles, a significant increase over the 2020s 629,000 miles and even the pre-pandemic year of 2019, with 1.45 million.
Waymo is only beginning to commercialize its service in the San Francisco Bay Area. As per the CPUC, Waymo reported providing rides to 1,503 passengers between November and January.
There have been some special moments, such as the dead-end road in the Richmond district that appeared to be beyond the company's vehicles' comprehension. Additionally, a pedestrian was struck by a Waymo vehicle operating in manual control. (Police stated that the injuries were not life-threatening.) Additionally, the company recently acquired an injunction requiring it to keep secret certain safety details in its state testing application.
Featured image: Waymo
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