Waymo has reportedly become the first company in California to receive permission for testing fully driverless cars on public roads, after the state DMV granted it the necessary permit. If sources are to be believed, the vehicles would not even have an observer during the tests.
Apparently, the self-driving cars would be travelling around sections of Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto as well as Sunnyvale. Initially, the rides will carry only Waymo employees, with the company eventually planning to offer trips for the general public as it did in Arizona.
Sources said the permit is comparatively flexible and Waymo's autonomous vehicles are allowed to drive during the day or night, on both rural and regular roads, in fog and in light rain. They are also allowed to travel on highways at a speed of up to 65MPH.
Waymo had applied for its permit in April, only days after the DMV had paved the way for fully driverless testing. At the time, Waymo had pledged to the California government that it tested and validated its autonomous technology and was content that its vehicles are sufficiently safe for public roads. However, if state officials were to think the cars are not as safe as Waymo claims, they can intervene.
California is home to a number of companies committed to developing self-driving vehicles, including ridesharing giants Uber and Lyft. Experts say that rivals would closely observe how Waymo fares in its tests and may see this as an opportunity to apply for their own permits, in case they have not already submitted their paperwork.
California’s DMV is widely recognized as the most advanced and involved regulator in self-driving space in the absence of strong federal rules for governing self-driving car testing. Records show that it has granted 60 companies, including Waymo, a more basic version of its autonomous vehicles learner’s permit that allows test to be conducted on public roads with a human behind the wheel.
Pankaj Singh Develops content for Algosonline, Market Size Forecasters, and a couple of other platforms. A Post Graduate in Management by qualification, he worked as an underwriter in the UK insurance domain before deciding to switch his field of profession. With experience in technical and niche writing, he was encouraged to opt for a career in content writing and now pens down articles pertaining to market research, industry news and business trends.