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Alphabet’s unit Waymo to launch driverless vehicle services in San Francisco

1 min read
Alphabet’s unit Waymo to launch driverless vehicle services in San Francisco
(Source: Waymo)

Waymo, a division of Alphabet Inc. (Google), announced on Monday that it is ready to replace safety drivers from its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco, but did not provide a timeline for fully driverless services. Waymo began providing autonomous rides to a small number of people in San Francisco for free in August, with safety drivers on board, using its Jaguar electric vehicles.

Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana said on Monday that the company has offered hundreds of passengers ‘robo-taxi’ rides in the densely populated city in the six months since its launch. According to Mawakana, the planned driverless operation would be “a major step on our path to deploying a fully autonomous commercial service.”

Waymo and its competitor Drive, which is majority-owned by General Motors, received permits from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) earlier this month to allow them to charge riders for journeys in which a safety driver is present in California.

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To begin collecting fares for autonomous passenger transportation in California, they must first seek separate permits from the CPUC. Waymo declined to comment on the progress of its application for a driverless permit with the CPUC.

Shubham Sawarkar

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