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California issues permits to Cruise, Waymo for autonomous vehicle service -Breaking


© Reuters. A Cruise self-driving car, which is owned by General Motors Corp, is seen outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco where it does most of its testing, in California, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Heather Somerville


By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Monday saw the California Public Utilities Commission issue permits to self-driving General Motors units (NYSE:) as well as Alphabet vehicles (NASDAQ:) Inc. These permit passenger service with autonomous vehicles and safety drivers.

According to CPUC, the GM units Cruise and Alphabet’s Waymo have Drivered Deployment Permits that allow them to take fares from passengers and offer shared rides. Waymo and Cruise had previously been allowed to provide passenger service but only for a limited time. There was no way to collect fare.

On Monday, Cruise can provide “Drivered Deployment”, a service that travels along some San Francisco roads at 30 MPH. Waymo, on the other hand, is allowed to service parts of San Francisco County at 65 MPH. Heavy fog and heavy rain are not allowed for either company.

Earlier in the month, Cruise and GM petitioned U.S. regulators to allow them to operate a small number of self-driving cars without any human control like brake pedals or steering wheels.

Waymo said Monday that it would apply what it had learned from operating the autonomous commercial ride hail system in Arizona to its growing San Francisco-based service.

Waymo claims it has hundreds of thousands of riders in California, where it began a test program back in August. “We’ll begin offering paid trips through the program in the coming weeks,” the company said.

Cruise’s Vice President for Global Government Affairs Prashanthi Raman stated in a statement that this announcement represented “another positive incremental move forward”. Our mission has always been to launch a driverless commercial ridehail service here in San Francisco, and that’s what we’ll continue working with our regulators to deliver.”

Cruise did not receive a reply from the CPUC to its request for driverless deployment permits.

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