Waymo is the first company that's allowed to test autonomous cars without a backup driver in California

WaymoWaymo will be the first company to test autonomous vehicles without backup drivers in California.

  • Waymo received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Tuesday to test autonomous vehicles without human backup drivers on public roads, the DMV said in a statement.
  • The Google spin-off is the first company to receive permission to test unmanned self-driving cars in California.
  • California adopted regulations that allow for the testing of self-driving cars without safety drivers in April, a milestone that could eventually pave the way for an autonomous ride-hailing service.

Waymo received a permit from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Tuesday to test autonomous vehicles without human backup drivers on public roads, the DMV said in a statement, making the Google spin-off the first company to receive permission to test unmanned self-driving cars in California.

Waymo will be able to test around 36 self-driving vehicles without a driver in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Sunnyvale, the DMW said. According to Waymo, company employees will be the first to take rides in the unmanned vehicles. The self-driving company has been allowed to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2014, one of 60 companies that are authorised to do so, the DMW said.


Read more: Waymo, Cruise, Mobileye, and Tesla are all tackling self-driving cars in different ways – here’s the breakdown

California adopted regulations that allow for the testing of self-driving cars without safety drivers in April, a milestone that could eventually pave the way for an autonomous ride-hailing service. Waymo has been testing such a service in Phoenix and plans to roll it out to the public by the end of this year.

The self-driving company has been positioned as a leader in the self-driving vehicle industry due to its proposed timeline for launching an autonomous ride-hailing service and the amount of testing it has completed. Waymo said on Tuesday that its vehicles have driven 10 million miles on public roads across 25 cities since 2009.

But an August report from The Information suggested Waymo’s self-driving technology struggles with more driving tasks than the company has indicated. The publication said Waymo vehicles have difficulty making unprotected left turns, distinguishing between individuals in a large group, and merging into turn lanes and highway traffic, among other trouble areas.

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