Waymo Secures First Driverless Car Permit in California
Waymo (a spinoff company from Google) is paving the way for driverless cars now that it has secured the first permit issued by California since it updated regulations for autonomous vehicle testing in April.
While the old laws required a driver to be present in the car during testing, the new statutes allow for testing without that presence. With increases in technology, lawmakers believed that safety would not be a concern even without a driver physically present in the vehicle. According to Waymo, there’s no need to worry. The company reminded anyone wary of these tests that if one of its vehicles doesn’t know how to react to a new situation, it will come safely to a stop.
The company has been working on driverless cars since 2009 and began testing on public streets in Phoenix, AZ, just last year. Now that it has a California permit, it will begin tests in Mountainview, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto.
The tests will start out slowly, Waymo said, but as they gain assurance, they will begin to increase. “We 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.”