Waymo and Cruise, two of the leading autonomous vehicle companies in the US, received permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to offer rides to passengers in their robotaxis.
But while Cruise was approved to give rides in its fully driverless vehicles without safety drivers, Waymo only is allowed to deploy its autonomous vehicles with a human monitor behind the wheel. In order to give rides to paying passengers in its fully driverless vehicles, as it does in Arizona, the Google spinoff would need to apply for an additional permit from the California Public Utilities Commission.
Waymo was the first company to receive a driverless testing permit in 2018. And while the idea of a fully autonomous ride-hailing service is still Waymo’s “north star and ultimate service model,” according to a spokesperson, the company will only remove safety drivers from its vehicles when it’s ready to do so.