You know that friend who talks about moving to California but never goes through with it? Well, Waymo and Cruise are finally putting their money where their mouths are. According to a report from Reuters, after years of planning, the autonomous carpool companies have both applied for permits to use their self-driving vehicles for controlled taxi and delivery services in San Francisco.
Waymo and Cruise already have a DMV permit to test their self-driving cars in California. The companies simply apply for a permit to provide delivery and taxi services with an operator behind the wheel of their car. If approved, Waymo and Cruise will join rival Nuro, which received the same license in 2020. Future licenses obtained through the California Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Program will allow the companies to offer their services without an operator.
Driverless car companies focus on the Bay Area because it is densely populated, spontaneous, and full of winding narrow roads. The city is a long way from Phoenix, another popular testing ground for self-driving cars (especially Waymo̵
Internally, this permit is a big step for Waymo and Cruise. But not much changes from the outside. Waymo still plans to keep a driver behind the wheel of its self-driving cars in San Francisco, and the companies can restrict their vehicles to certain roads while in self-driving mode. Delivery and ride services can be limited to certain areas at certain times of the day, and the average person in San Francisco isn’t in a self-driving car until the end of the decade.
Source: Waymo, Cruise via Ars Technica