California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has issued autonomous vehicle deployment permits to GM-backed Cruise and Alphabet-backed Waymo.
These permits will allow both companies to start their robotaxi services by charging customers and receiving compensation for their services.
The two companies previously held autonomous testing permits which didn’t allow them to receive payment for offering lifts to people around San Francisco.
Cruise is allowed to operate a fleet of “light-duty autonomous vehicles” within designated parts of San Francisco between 10 pm and 6 am. The cars are also limited to a top speed of 30 mph.
“Today’s approval from the California DMV makes Cruise the first and only autonomous ride-hailing company to receive a driverless deployment permit in the state,” says Rob Grant, Cruise’s Senior VP of Government Affairs and Social Impact.
Waymo, on the other hand, can operate its fleet within certain parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. Their top speed is also more than doubled to 65 mph.
Big thanks to @CA_DMV for recognizing the safe progress we’re making with our #WaymoDriver. We just started rider testing in SF, and this new permit will help us build on our efforts to bring our AV technology to many more CA residents. https://t.co/R1hhSgwNcH
— Waymo (@Waymo) September 30, 2021
Both operators are allowed to run their services in light rain and light fog.
However, they aren’t the only services operating on California’s roads. Last year, autonomous delivery startup Nuno became the first company to receive a commercial permit from the DMV.
Both Cruise and Waymo declined to comment to TechCrunch on when they plan to launch tier services or whether they have plans for delivery services.
While the two companies have both faced problems operating on San Francisco streets, the limited operating hours should prevent too many issues. Of course, operating in the small hours of the morning might bring other issues with inebriated drivers. Either way, we’ll have to wait and see.