California is already the testing ground for many companies that are working on driverless technology. Waymo is one of those companies. It’s the self-driving division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. It has now been granted permission to test fully driverless cars on public roads in California.
The state requires companies like Waymo that are testing self-driving cars on public roads to have a human safety driver behind the wheel at all times. Waymo recently filed for a permit which would allow it to test fully driverless cars on public roads without a safety driver. The permit has been granted and it’s the first company in the state to get it.
The fully driverless tests will be limited to the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto as it knows this area “well,” according to the company. When it decides to expand testing to other areas, it would first notify the new communities and then seek permission from the DMV.
The permit allows Waymo to test these cars on rural roads, city streets, and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph in both the day and night. Testing in conditions which include fog and light rain is permitted as well. “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,” Waymo said in a statement.
It won’t be allowing the public to experience these fully autonomous cars initially. The company says that it will eventually provide the public opportunities to experience this technology as it has done through the early rider program in Arizona.