Waymo can now charge for completely driverless services in San Francisco • TechCrunch


The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday approved an amendment to Waymo’s existing deployment license to include driverless and chauffeured operations. Now Waymo will be able to charge for the use of its self-driving vehicles, which will operate without anyone driving, for services such as food and grocery delivery.

The enhanced DMV permit is a prerequisite for launching fully self-driving commercial transportation service in San Francisco, as its main competitor Cruise did this summer. All Waymo needs now is a driverless deployment permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to finally start charging for driver-only self-driving rides around the city. The company will be able to apply for this permit once it has driven its driverless cars on public roads for at least 30 days.

Waymo received its driver-based deployment permit from the DMV last September, which allowed the company to launch a self-driving commercial delivery pilot in San Francisco with Albertsons earlier this year. Per permit requirements, a human safety operator must be in the front seat during operations.

San_Francisco_waymo Service Area

Waymo’s service area in San Francisco. Image credit: Waymo

Waymo then received a CPUC driver deployment permit in February this year and began charging its “trusted testers” for robotaxi rides with a human safety operator in the front seat in May.

Between June and August, Waymo drove more than 709,000 miles with a safety driver in the state of California, according to the CPUC quarterly report.

The company recently expanded its service in downtown Phoenix to include trips, with a human security operator, to Phoenix Airport, and announced that it would launch a robotaxi service in Los Angeles.

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