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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Waymo Eyes Los Angeles for Driverless Service Expansion

Image credits: gibblesmash asdf / Unsplash

Waymo, the autonomous driving subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, is revving up to make a significant move in the world of driverless transportation.

The company announced on Friday that it has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission to expand its driverless service in the bustling city of Los Angeles.

This move, if approved, would enable Waymo to fully operate its fleet in California's largest city, where it is currently testing rides on an invitation-only basis. The utilities commission, however, has yet to respond to Waymo's application.

Waymo's expansion plans don't stop at Los Angeles. The company recently announced that it would begin testing its fully autonomous passenger cars without a human driver on the freeways of Phoenix, Arizona. In addition, it has set its sights on operating in Austin, Texas, further broadening its geographical reach.

While the company is making strides in passenger transportation, it has temporarily shelved its efforts to develop commercial autonomous trucking technology. This decision came in the wake of increased regulatory scrutiny surrounding autonomous driving software.

The path to autonomous driving hasn't been without its bumps. Last year, General Motors' Cruise driverless car unit paused all supervised and manual car trips in the U.S. following an accident that led to the suspension of driverless vehicle operations.

Despite these challenges, Waymo remains optimistic about its future in autonomous transportation. The company has expressed its commitment to working with Los Angeles policymakers, first responders, and community organisations to ensure a smooth and successful launch of its ride-hailing service.

In the race to revolutionise transportation, Waymo is certainly not hitting the brakes. As we wait for further updates, one thing is clear: the future of ride-hailing in Los Angeles could soon be driverless.

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