Waymo Granted California Permit to Test Self-Driving Cars Without Human Backup
【Summary】The California DMV has granted Waymo the first ever permit to test its driverless minivans without a human backup, meaning there will be no test driver sitting in the driver’s seat.
Waymo, the self-driving arm of Alphabet, is one of the leading companies developing driverless technology. Since 2009, the company has logged over ten million real-world miles with its fleet of self-driving vehicles and billions more in computer simulation. However, most of these miles, a human backup was sitting in the driver seat, ready to take over if necessary.
Now the company is getting the nod from California regulators to test autonomous vehicles without a human backup driver on public roads. The California DMV has granted Waymo the first ever permit to test its driverless minivans without a driver present, meaning there will be no test driver sitting in the driver's seat.
This permit is the result of new DMV regulations that took effect in April, which allow companies to apply for fully-driverless testing within certain defined areas.
Waymo's test region is highlighted in blue
Waymo's test vehicles will be restricted to driving in the shaded area of the map, which includes the Silicon Valley towns of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto. The testing zone includes the headquarters of both Waymo and parent company, Alphabet.
Mountain View is home to more than a dozen autonomous vehicle companies, and Waymo said that the city has supported autonomous testing for years.
Waymo is not just releasing a fleet of self-driving vehicles without warning the public. Prior to launching driverless vehicles in any new territory, Waymo said it will notify any new communities where this expansion will occur, as well as submit a formal request to the California DMV.
Waymo's permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 miles per hour. Waymo's test area includes portions of California's busy 101 Freeway. Waymo says its vehicles can safely handle fog and light rain, and testing in those conditions is included in its permit.
The company will gradually begin driverless testing on city streets in a limited territory and, over time, "expand the area that we drive in as we gain confidence and experience to expand." Waymo wrote in a blog post.
Safety has always been the core of Waymo's mission. Each vehicle undergoes rigorous testing that begins well before they get to the road.
If a Waymo vehicle comes across a situation it cannot navigate, the vehicle comes to a safe stop until it does understand how to proceed. For added safety, Waymo follows a set of well-established protocols, which include contacting Waymo fleet and rider support for help in resolving the issue.
Waymo is already testing driverless minivans for an autonomous ride-hailing service it plans to launch soon in Arizona. Waymo's Early Rider Program has been in operation since last year and allows members of the public the experience of riding in a self-driving vehicle.
Unlike Arizona, the pilot in California will not involve the public yet.
Waymo worte in a blog post that "eventually, we'll create opportunities for members of the public to experience this technology, as we've done in Arizona with our early rider program."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk Says the Automaker is On Track for the Biggest Sales Quarter in its History
Baidu Denies Planning Spin-off of its Apollo Autonomous Driving Platform
EVgo Partnering with Chevron to Install EV Fast Charging at Select California Gas Stations
EV Startup Bolt Mobility Introduces its Two-Seater Bolt Nano
The NTSB Determines Tesla ‘Autopilot’ Was Engaged Before Fatal Crash in Florida
Electric Vehicle Startup Neuron EV Reveals its Visionary Smart Vehicle Called ‘HUB’
Auto Execs Say the White House Will Extend May 18 Deadline on Auto Tariffs
Porsche Fined $598 Million for its Role in the ‘Dieselgate’ Emissions Scandal
- Battery Supplier Panasonic Backs Away From Further Investment in Tesla’s Gigafactories
- Tesla Reverses Decision to Shut Down All of its Retail Stores, Will Keep Some Open & Raise Prices
- Audi Turning to Green Factory to Manufacture EVs
- Lyft’s Falling Stock Price Ahead of Uber’s IPO Shows Investor Concerns About the Ride-Hailing Model Becoming Profitable
- Kia to Premier Euro-spec Electric e-Soul at the Geneva Motor Show
- Lyft Valued $24.3 Billion Ahead of Tomorrow’s IPO, Becoming the First Ride-Hailing Company to Go Public
- Tesla Receives the Strongest Organic Engagement on Social Media
- Lyft Users Will Soon Be Able to Summon a Self-Driving Waymo Minivan in Arizona
- EVgo Partnering with Chevron to Install EV Fast Charging at Select California Gas Stations
- Here’s Everything We Know About the 2021 Ford Transit Electric Van