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If it wasn't apparent already, the state of California has effectively confirmed that Alphabet's Waymo is the official front-runner in the battle to bring self-driving taxis to market. To wit, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday that the California Public Utilities Commission has granted Waymo permission to carry passengers in its self-driving taxis - so long as the cars remain within a limited geographic area (in this case, the South Bay) and have safety drivers at the wheel, ready to take over should some mishap occur.
Waymo - Car - Company - Permission - Passengers
So far, Waymo is the only autonomous car company that has received permission to carry passengers as part of the state's pilot program.
California - Public - Utilities - Commission - Today
The California Public Utilities Commission today granted Waymo a permit on Tuesday to participate in the state’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot. Waymo confirmed the approval. A statement from a Waymo spokesperson provides some hints as to how and where the company intends to use this permit.
“The CPUC allows us to participate in their pilot program, giving Waymo employees the ability to hail our vehicles and bring guests on rides within our South Bay territory,” the spokesperson said in a statement. "This is the next step in our path to eventually expand and offer more Californians opportunities to access our self-driving technology, just as we have gradually done with Waymo One in Metro Phoenix."
Reasons - Permit - Milestone - Permissions - Waymo
For these reasons, this permit is a much bigger milestone than the permissions Waymo and other autonomous car companies received to test-drive in areas around Phoenix, Ariz. and NorCal. It represents the first real concrete step toward a commercially viable passenger-carrying business.
The company also received an exemption allowing it to hire third-party contractors to work as safety drivers in its fleet (though per TC, the drivers will all participate in Alphabet's training program).
Waymo - Permission
Instead, this gives Waymo permission to use its...
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The beatings will continue until moral improves.