The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has just voted in favor of expanding passenger transportation services in the city of San Francisco. This means self-driving taxi companies Waymo (a subsidiary of Alphabet) and Cruise (General Motors) can now operate and charge for their rides 24/7 anywhere in the city. Until now, this authorization was limited to certain districts and only at night, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The situation will therefore change, with far fewer restrictions than before. Waymo claims to already have a waiting list of more than 100,000 people. However, the firm wishes to gradually extend its offer, always in collaboration with the local authorities.
Like Cruise or Waymo, other companies, such as Aurora or Argo AI, have been working on autonomous driving systems for years and are already running several “robotaxis” in the United States. Even Amazon is embarking on the adventure, with its Zoox project, an electric and autonomous vehicle capable of transporting up to four passengers in complete safety. On the other side of the world, the “Chinese Google” Baidu is also working on this type of project, through a test program in five major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.