Despite Occasional Hiccups, California Expands Access to Driverless Cars

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted permits allowing General Motors’ Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo to operate their driverless robotaxis in San Francisco around the clock, marking a significant step forward for autonomous vehicles. Waymo, originally Google’s Self-Driving Car Project, had previously operated under certain restrictions. The CPUC’s decision also raises the possibility of competition from companies like Uber, Lyft, and Tesla in the future. Despite this progress, there have been concerns and incidents, including clashes with emergency responders and vehicles getting stuck in restricted areas.

Waymo sees this permit as the start of its commercial operations in San Francisco, expressing gratitude for the CPUC’s confidence and support from communities. The decision could pave the way for other companies to enter the autonomous ride-hailing market.

Despite opposition from various quarters, including police and fire departments, and bike advocates, the CPUC’s approval suggests a growing acceptance of autonomous vehicles on San Francisco streets. The article mentions instances of driverless cars causing challenges for emergency personnel and crossing into restricted areas.

Both Cruise and Waymo operate their autonomous vehicles in other cities as well, such as Phoenix and Austin, and GM has highlighted Cruise’s rapid scaling progress, reaching 3 million driverless miles in a short time. Alphabet, the parent company of Waymo, has secured substantial funding for its operations.

In recent developments, Cruise has entered an agreement with local chapters of labor unions to employ workers for constructing and staffing Cruise facilities. The future of robotaxis in other US cities is a topic of discussion, inviting readers to comment on potential locations for their operation.