CPUC Issues First Autonomous Vehicle Drivered Deployment Permits
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today issued Drivered Deployment permits to Cruise LLC and Waymo LLC to allow for passenger service in autonomous vehicles (AVs) with a safety driver present in the vehicle. Cruise and Waymo are authorized to collect fares from passengers for this service and may offer shared rides.
Prior to today’s permits being issued for Drivered Deployment, Cruise and Waymo had been permitted to provide passenger service only on a testing basis (no fare collection permitted) in the Drivered Pilot program. The CPUC allows carriers who hold a Drivered Pilot permit in good standing to request conversion of that permit into a Drivered Deployment permit. These carriers must hold a valid California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Deployment permit and meet the requirements of the CPUC Drivered Deployment program. After review of applications by Cruise and Waymo, the CPUC determined that the two companies meet these requirements.
With the Drivered Deployment permits issued by the CPUC today and the requisite DMV permits, Cruise and Waymo are authorized to offer passenger service in specific areas. As of today, Cruise may provide Drivered Deployment service on selected public roads in San Francisco between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Waymo may provide Drivered Deployment service in designated parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties at any time of day or night at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. Neither company is authorized to operate during heavy fog or heavy rain.
“Autonomous vehicles are a breakthrough technology that hold the potential to improve safety for all road users, and issuing these permits allowing for fare collection and shared rides is an important and measured step toward the commercialization and expansion of the service,” said Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma. “As the technology is deployed, we will keep a close eye on the impacts of autonomous vehicles on safety, the environment, and on disadvantaged communities.”
As part of the CPUC’s continued efforts to protect passenger safety, the CPUC will continue to engage AV companies on safety and accessibility issues applicable to AV passengers and all road users. The CPUC will continue collecting quarterly reporting data from pilot participants and begin collecting expanded quarterly data from deployment participants. Future public workshops are anticipated to review the Phase I AV Deployment programs.
AV carriers may participate in one or more of the following CPUC-approved AV passenger service programs:
- Drivered Pilot: Passenger service on a test basis for carriers that hold a DMV Autonomous Vehicle Testing permit. Safety driver must be present in the vehicle. No fare collection permitted. No shared rides (between passengers of different parties) permitted.
- Driverless Pilot: Passenger service on a test basis for carriers that hold a DMV Autonomous Vehicle Driverless Testing permit. Driverless, so no safety driver required. No fare collection permitted. No shared rides permitted.
- Drivered Deployment: Passenger service on a deployment basis for carriers that hold a DMV Autonomous Vehicle Deployment permit. Safety driver must be present in the vehicle. Fare collection is permitted. Shared rides are permitted.
- Driverless Deployment: Passenger service on a deployment basis for carriers that hold a DMV Autonomous Vehicle Deployment permit. Driverless, so no safety driver required in the vehicle. Fare collection is permitted. Shared rides may be permitted depending on a carrier’s Passenger Safety Plan.
The CPUC regulates the use of AVs in providing passenger service throughout California. It does so through the permitting processes for the programs, data collection and analysis, and potential investigative or enforcement actions. The CPUC has adopted specific goals for the AV programs: 1) protect passenger safety, 2) expand the benefits of AV technologies to all Californians, including people with disabilities, 3) improve transportation options for all, particularly for disadvantaged communities and low-income communities, and 4) reduce greenhouse gas emissions, criteria air pollutants, and toxic air contaminants, particularly in disadvantaged communities. AV policy and regulatory issues are addressed in Rulemaking 12-12-011. The public can comment on the proceeding on the Docket Card.
More information on today’s permit issuance is available at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/regulatory-services/licensing/transportation-licensing-and-analysis-branch/autonomous-vehicle-carrier-pilot/frequently-asked-questions.
More information on the CPUC’s AV programs is available at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/regulatory-services/licensing/transportation-licensing-and-analysis-branch/autonomous-vehicle-carrier-pilot.
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.