Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Driverless Cabs Are Here: California Authorizes Two Companies To Operate in San Francisco

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has authorized last Thursday the Cruise and Waymo companies to deploy driverless cars. The permits came after the companies applied for them in May of this year with the aim of offering their robotaxi services in San Francisco.

As communicated by the DMV, the authorization allows Cruise to operate in a specific area of the city between 10 pm and 6 am. In addition, they will be able to move even when there is light rain or fog, but they will not be able to exceed 30 miles per hour (48 km/h).

Waymo, on the other hand, will be able to travel over a wider area, including San Francisco and San Mateo counties. As with the other company, Waymo's cars will be able to operate even in light rain and fog.

Another advantage of this company is the speed at which it will be able to move, which is much higher than in the case of Cruise. Specifically, the DMV has allowed Waymo's autonomous robotaxis to reach speeds of up to 65 miles per hour, i.e. 105 km/h.

Before the two companies could offer their services, they had already had road permits to test the operation of their vehicles in California. Waymo was the first to conduct its road tests in 2014, but it was not until 2018 that it began driving without safety drivers.

In Cruise's case, their California road tests with safety drivers began in 2015. They finally conducted their driverless tests in 2020.

Now, with the permits obtained, Waymo and Cruise will have to fine-tune their cutting-edge technology so that they can operate correctly and avoid any mishaps. Although the DMV has already approved their application, they still have to wait for the California Public Utilities Commission to do so as well.

What does the DMV ask for in order to grant your permit?

About the granting of the permits, the DMV has explained that they adopt the necessary regulations to comply with the state law established in 2012. Therefore, they take into account the evidence and the public use that will be given to those vehicles.

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