Alphabet subsidiary Waymo has launched San Francisco’s first 24/7 fully-autonomous ride-hailing service.
Earlier this month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted Waymo a permit to participate in the state’s pilot initiative to provide “driverless” autonomous vehicle (AV) passenger service to the public.
“We are seeing momentum build in this space and are working to assure the safe expansion of the driverless pilot program,” said CPUC Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.
Waymo is wasting no time in taking advantage:
Under the terms of the permit, Waymo is able to offer driverless rides throughout San Francisco and parts of Daly City, as well as in portions of the cities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale.
Waymo’s vehicles are restricted to public roadways with speed limits of up to 65 miles per hour.
During testing, Waymo says that it completed more than 20,000 trips since August 2021. Folks who’ve signed up to the waitlist via the Waymo One app will be first to be invited to take trips “in the coming weeks”.
As long as Waymo can avoid being responsible for any serious incidents as it scales, the ride-hailing service should provide a much-needed boost to public confidence in driverless vehicles.
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