Google’s Waymo and GM’s Cruise on Friday received permission to offer paid rides in their driverless vehicles at any time of day in San Francisco. The expansion was approved after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) evaluated the companies’ licensing requirements, listened to public testimonies and voted three to one in favor of the move.
Following the permit’s approval, Waymo issued a statement detailing exactly how it plans to grow its fully autonomous ride-hailing service. The company will begin “gradually welcoming more riders into the service,” which already boasts a waitlist with over 100,000 signups. While the company will take an “incremental” approach at first, Waymo promises that it will make its service “available to everyone over time.”
“Today’s permit marks the true beginning of our commercial operations in San Francisco,” said Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo. “We can’t wait for more San Franciscans to experience the mobility, safety, sustainability and accessibility benefits of full autonomy for themselves — all at the touch of a button.”
Waymo presently has 200 cars on the streets of San Francisco, and Cruise adds another 300. Prior to today, Cruise was limited to offering paid driverless rides to passengers in certain areas of the city, between the hours of 10 p.m. PT and 6 a.m. PT, while Waymo was able to provide rides to passengers at any time, so long as there was a safety driver in the vehicle.
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