CPUC Approves New Driverless Autonomous Vehicle Service Under Pilot Program Designed To Transform State’s Transportation System
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in ongoing efforts to support transportation innovation, today authorized Waymo LLC to participate in California’s pilot program to provide “driverless” autonomous vehicle (AV) passenger service to the public. Waymo joins the CPUC’s Driverless Pilot program, in which passengers can ride in a test AV that operates without a driver in the vehicle. Waymo may not charge passengers for any rides in test AVs.
Waymo’s permit represents a milestone for driverless passenger service, expanding the potential availability of driverless AV rides to more Californians and increasing opportunities for public engagement in the pilot. Waymo joins Cruise, LLC as the second participant in CPUC’s Driverless Pilot program. The Driverless Pilot program is intended to allow AV companies to develop their technologies on a test basis, while providing for public safety and consumer protection in services offered by commercial operators within the CPUC’s jurisdiction. The CPUC has established goals relating to the safety, accessibility, equity, and environmental benefits of AVs and will collect program data to monitor AV carriers’ progress toward these goals.
“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.
With this authorization, Waymo may offer driverless passenger service throughout San Francisco and portions 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 driverless test AVs may operate on public roadways with posted speed limits up to 65 miles per hour, at all times of day or night.
As required, Waymo holds an Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program Manufacturer’s Testing Permit – Driverless Vehicles from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV’s permit is a prerequisite for all AV testing and is separate and distinct from CPUC’s permit, which is an additional requirement for carriers who transport members of the public in AVs.
Waymo also participates in two other CPUC AV Programs. Waymo holds a Drivered Deployment permit, allowing it to collect fares for passenger service in test AVs with a safety driver present. This fared service is permitted within San Francisco and portions of Daly City. Waymo also holds a Drivered Pilot permit, allowing for passenger service in test AVs with a safety driver present, without collection of fares. This test service is permitted within portions of the cities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale, as well as portions of Los Angeles County including in the cities of Inglewood, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica.
Companies participating in the AV Program must submit quarterly reports to the CPUC about the operation of their vehicles providing AV passenger service. Companies providing driverless service must also submit a Passenger Safety Plan that outlines their plans for protecting passenger safety in driverless operations.
More information on the CPUC’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service Pilot Programs is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/regulatory-services/licensing/transportation-licensing-and-analysis-branch/autonomous-vehicle-programs.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.