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CPUC authorizes Google-Waymo driverless car in Los Angeles

March 2, 2024

The California Public Utilities Commission approved Waymo’s application for the expansion of its self-driving taxi operations beyond San Francisco starting Friday. The company owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc. has also been operating the service in Phoenix since 2020.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Waymo called the commission’s approval a “vote of confidence in our operations, which paves the way for the deployment of our commercial Waymo One service in LA and the SF Peninsula.”

In a statement, L.A. County 4th District Supervisor Janice Hahn wrote, “This is a dangerous decision. These robotaxis are far too untested and Angelenos shouldn’t be Big Tech’s guinea pigs. Decisions like this one should be informed by cities, not made over city objections. I urge our state legislators to pass SB 915 and give cities the ability to regulate these robotaxis and keep our roads safe for all of us.”

Waymo’s cars have become a fairly common sight on the streets of San Francisco, although they are not universally popular and have been known to come to sudden stops that have backed up traffic in the city.

The expansion for Waymo comes after California authorities revoked the license of a rival robotaxi service owned by General Motors after determining its driverless cars that had been transporting passengers throughout San Francisco were a dangerous menace. A robotaxi run by that company, Cruise, ran over a pedestrian who had been hit by another vehicle driven by a human, and then pinned the pedestrian under one of its tires after coming to a stop.

Officials in San Mateo County and Los Angeles had opposed the expansion and want more local say over how robotaxis can operate.