Waymo launches 24/7 autonomous ride-hailing service in San Francisco

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...

Pony.ai agrees to recall its self-driving system

Pony.ai has agreed to advice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to recall its self-driving system.

NHTSA says that it’s the “first recall of an automated driving system”.

On 28 October 2021, a Pony.ai vehicle crashed into a street sign in Fremont, California after turning right. No-one was injured in the incident, but it was enough for California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend Pony.ai’s driverless testing...

Cruise offers free robotaxi trips in San Francisco without backup drivers

Self-driving vehicle service Cruise is offering free public robotaxi trips in San Francisco without backup drivers.

The free trips will use Cruise’s fleet of retrofitted Chevrolet Bolt vehicles that includes Poppy and Tostada. These vehicles are ‘Level 4’ meaning they’re fully driverless and don't require a backup driver but still feature a steering wheel, pedals, mirrors and everything required for manual control.

Cruise was granted approval to test its...

Waymo and Cruise can now offer autonomous vehicle rides to the public

Autonomous Vehicle

Waymo and Cruise have both received approval to offer autonomous vehicle rides to the public by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Whilst a major step in the push towards autonomous vehicles, both companies will only be allowed to operate in certain parts of the state and under specific conditions.

All that remains is to secure a deployment permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and both companies will be able to offer paid...

Nuro receives first permit to operate self-driving cars commercially in California

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has awarded Nuro the state’s first commercial permit for self-driving cars.

The permit allows Nuro to operate its autonomous vehicles commercially on the roads of two counties near the company’s Bay Area headquarters.

Nuro says it will soon announce its first commercial deployment with an “established” partner. The company’s fleet of Prius cars will kick-off the deployment but will later be joined by Nuro’s...

Proposition 22 was the big vote this week for Uber and Lyft

All eyes are on the presidential election, but the big vote for Uber and Lyft this week was on Proposition 22 in California.

Proposition 22 exempts gig companies from AB5, a labour law passed in 2019 which extended employee protections to gig workers like Uber and Lyft drivers.

Voters in California passed the law with around 58% of ballots in favour after intense campaign efforts from not just the ridesharing giants but also companies like Instacart and DoorDash which...

Uber and Lyft lose appeal to avoid classifying drivers as employees

Uber and Lyft have been ordered to classify their drivers as employees by a Californian court after losing an appeal.

The ride-hailing giants classify their drivers as contractors which means they can avoid giving many of the usual rights and benefits afforded to employees. Uber and Lyft argue most drivers prefer the flexibility of so-called gig economy work.

Most groups representing drivers for the companies appear to be in favour of them being classed as employees....

Dryad Networks is using the ‘Internet of Trees’ to fight wildfires

Dryad Networks is deploying IoT technology to help prevent the devastation caused by wildfires.

This year alone, we’ve had the ongoing wildfire in California that has now set the unwanted record of most acres burned in a single year, the wildfires in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and another of Australia’s bushfires⁠—to name just a few.

Each case leaves a trail of destruction in its wake with environmental, social, and economic impacts. A report in July estimated...

Waymo will resume self-driving van trials in the Bay Area on June 18th

Waymo has said it will resume trials of self-driving vans in the Bay Area on June 18th.

The company was forced to suspend its autonomous vehicle trials in mid-March following a “shelter-in-place” order issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Back in March, we decided to suspend our driving operations in response to COVID-19 to ensure the safety of everyone involved in our services and local communities,” a Waymo spokesperson said in a...