The state of California already allows driverless cars to be tested on public roads (assuming the company has applied for and been given a permit to do so). This is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are now allowing driverless cars to pick up passengers, according to a recent report from The San Francisco Examiner.
According to the report, the California Public Utilities Commission has voted to approve a pilot program that allows driverless cars to carry passengers. Given that we’re seeing companies such as Uber test out autonomous vehicles, it’s not hard to imagine that driverless cars picking up passengers in the future could be a business.
We’ve also heard that Lyft is working on self-driving cars as well, so it definitely seems like a very viable business model in the future. However there is a catch and that is while companies are allowed to test out driverless cars picking up passengers, they are not allowed to charge them for rides, at least not under this pilot program.
According to Commissioner Liane Randolph, she feels that by making it a fee-less program, it would make the pilot program feel different from whatever final program they ultimately accept. She also hopes that this program will encourage those who participate in it to be more mindful of their experiences and provide critical feedback, which we guess is similar to how beta programs for software works.