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Two companies, Waymo and Cruise, are seeking permission to charge for autonomous driving services in San Francisco.

Published :5/12/2021 8:13:56 AM

Click Count:2103

According to reports on May 12, a state document shows that Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and its competitor Cruise have applied for permission to start using self-driving vehicles for paid passenger and freight services in San Francisco. The technology creates conditions for maximum testing in dense urban environments.

The two companies did not disclose when they plan to launch paid services, but they both detailed the two companies' completely different deployment plans. Waymo plans to still equip vehicles with drivers, while Cruise hopes to deploy self-driving cars under unmanned conditions.

The documents show that the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has not yet made a decision on the applications submitted by the two companies. Waymo’s application was submitted on January 19, and Cruise’s application was submitted on March 29. Currently, DMV has not responded to a request for comment.

This is a turning point for Waymo, which has been established for more than ten years. Since 2019, Waymo has begun to provide paid driverless ride-hailing services in the suburbs of Chandler, Arizona. However, the company's business did not expand its business in Arizona as quickly as analysts had previously expected.

John Krafcik, who had previously served as the company's chief executive officer for a long time, resigned in April this year, and two co-CEOs took over his position.

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For Cruise, the company has received investments from General Motors, Honda Motor and SoftBank, and they have focused on the San Francisco market from the beginning. The company stated in the license application that they have accumulated ‍ 2 million miles (3.22 million kilometers) of autonomous driving test mileage in San Francisco. The company also stated in this application that they have accumulated more than 83,000 miles of autonomous driving test mileage in its proposed deployment area.

Grayson Brulte, a consultant who provides companies with autonomous driving strategy consulting, said: "Compared with suburban areas such as Chandler, in dense urban environments such as San Francisco, you can gain more meaningful experience and generate considerable revenue. "

At present, the media could not immediately contact Waymo and Cruise for comment. 

Waymo and Cruise are not the first companies to obtain self-driving taxi operations in California. In December last year, Nuro, a start-up from Silicon Valley, became the only company to obtain a DMV license. In March of this year, the company completed a round of investment. The investor was Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. The amount of investment is unknown. The investor said that they are very interested in Nuro's new distribution system.

Records show that a DMV official wrote to Nuro in March asking if it planned to deliver to the fast food chain in California. Nuro and DMV met on April 16, but the outcome of the discussion is still unclear.