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Waymo Robotaxi Approved in LA

California regulator has granted approval for Alphabet’s Waymo to expand its driverless robotaxi services to Los Angeles and some cities near San Francisco.

Waymo Robotaxi Approved in LA

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Friday approved the application of Waymo to expand its autonomous robotaxi services, already available in San Fransisco, to its neighbouring cities as well as Los Angeles.

After over a month of review, the regulator granted Waymo with the given permission despite certain objections from local authorities and the general public. In particular, the City of South San Francisco, the County of San Mateo, and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation had submitted their protests against Waymo’s expansion.

Public concern regarding robotaxi services was fuelled by recent accidents involving Waymo and its rival GM’s Cruise vehicles. One Waymo car struck a bicyclist at an intersection and another was attacked and set on fire. Some of the Waymo vehicles were also taken off the streets since their software glitches led to minor collisions.

Cruise, which had been operating in the streets of the Bay Area since 2022, faced a significant fine last year as California regulators concluded the firm had covered up the severity of an accident involving one of its driverless cars running into a pedestrian. The California Department of Motor Vehicles also suspended its license to operate in the state.

Despite public fears, not only the regulators give Waymo the green light for driverless taxi rides but also Uber now has an opportunity to expand their cooperation and offer autonomous rides through Waymo in new locations. Last year, the ride-hailing service agreed to launch the process of transporting passengers and delivering goods by unmanned Waymo vehicles in some areas of Arizona.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.