The Public Utilities Commission of California was scheduled to vote on Thursday on whether Cruise and Waymo’s autonomous vehicles are safe enough for deployment on the streets of San Francisco. The vote turned in favor of the autonomous taxi service provider as the California regulators gave them permission to run 24×7 on San Francisco streets.
The question in front of the regulators was whether to allow Cruise and Waymo to expand their taxi services throughout the city. The commission voted 3-1 in favor of the company. The one ‘no’ vote was from Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.
The argument that was given in favor of increasing the number of driverless cars was that these cars would help in preventing car crashes on California roads. Many argued that San Francisco regulators could not ignore the technology that makes roads safer.
However, according to TechCrunch.com,
“Since AVs hit the streets of San Francisco, there have been numerous instances of vehicles malfunctioning and stopping in the middle of the street — referred to as “bricking” — blocking the flow of traffic, public transit and emergency responders.”
Despite the fact of many instances of malfunctioning automotive vehicles, the CPUC voted in favor of the AV companies. There was mounting opposition from various city agencies and residents of San Francisco, as they urged for a more cautious and incremental approach to the expansion of driverless taxis throughout the city.
Cruise and Waymo’s driverless taxi services come in the form of limited paid options in San Francisco. At night, Cruise charges for driverless rides, while Waymo charges for its robotaxi services, which can be availed at any time of the day in San Francisco. However, the latter keeps a human safety operator present.