The Californian licensing authority CPUC has granted the Alphabet-daughter company permission to have vehicles controlled by the company’s own system driven on public roads. This makes Waymo the fourth supplier to receive such a permit, alongside Zoox, Autox and Pony.ai. By the way, Pony.ai was recently taken over by Apple.
The news fittingly comes around the same time as the recently announced cooperation with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world.
AUTONOMOUS BUT WITH SUPERVISION
The permit comes with strings attached. The Waymo vehicles are not allowed on the road without a supervisor on board. In addition, it is not possible to use the vehicles in a taxi or Uber manner. Instead, Waymo employees and guests may be picked up and transported by the autonomous passenger cars. The permission only applies to passenger transport. The operation of autonomous trucks is therefore not possible.
Waymo had already launched a robotic taxi service in the neighboring state of Arizona at the beginning of December 2018, the world’s first of its kind.