The California Public Utility Commission, which is responsible for cab regulation among other things, today granted Cruise and Waymo permission to offer paid robotaxi rides with immediate effect. This makes the two the first robotaxi companies in California to have this license.
This license comes with restrictions: paid trips may currently only be made with a safety driver on board for both companies, during certain times and certain areas.
Waymo is allowed to provide this service at any time of day or night at speeds up to 65 miles per hour (105 km/h) as the maximum allowed on highways in certain parts of the city of San Francisco and the community of San Mateo.
Cruise is only allowed to provide the service between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in some parts of San Francisco at speeds up to 30 miles per hour (48 kph).
Both robotaxi fleets, each comprising more than 100 vehicles, are fully equipped with electric cars. Waymo uses the Jaguar iPace, Cruise the Chevrolet Bolt.
Here again is the exact wording of the CA PUC announcement:
As of today, Cruise may provide Drivered Deployment service on selected public roads in San Francisco between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Waymo may provide Drivered Deployment service in designated parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties at any time of day or night at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. Neither company is authorized to operate during heavy fog or heavy rain
The next stage will be to allow these paid rides to be offered without a safety driver (Driverless Deployment) and, by extension, throughout California.
This article was also published in German.