Paid 24/7 driverless car services are now available in San Francisco


Well-known member
Jul 9, 2023
It was decided by state regulators this past Thursday (31st of August) that Waymo and Cruise are now able to launch paid 24/7 driverless car services.

It would seem this was the final approval both companies needed to be able to offer these services throughout San Francisco.

The permits have now been granted to Waymo and Cruise to allow them to charge 24/7 for rides in San Francisco.

As much as this is great for both companies Waymo and Cruise and also great news for San Francisco, there are still worries regarding driverless vehicles due to them disrupting bus routes and traffic around San Francisco.

You can read more about this permit and what this means for both companies and San Francisco here
San Francisco, California, United States
Thanks for sharing, @Shortie. It was also interesting how one of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) commissioners said he believes in the "potential of this technology to increase safety on the roadway." So this isn't just about allowing companies to operate autonomous vehicle (AV) services but about providing broader public safety benefits. In fact, I noted that CPUC's stated goal in regulated AVs is to promote "public safety, accessible and equitable transportation, and benefits to the environment," so the benefits regulators are seeking really are far-reaching and multifaceted.

I'll be interested to see how AV permitting works with driver's licenses when AVs eventually begin rolling out as a personal transportation option. Will the vision test still be mandatory? If you're just "riding" in your personal AV, will you even need a license at that point?
So, San Francisco has allowed Waymo and Cruise to operate driverless cars 24/7, right? Is this the first time a company has been granted to operate driverless cars? Are there other companies also operating driverless cars or have applied for permits? Are there other states in the United States where they have permitted driverless cars?
Well, I'm going to be very honest, if I'm in San Francisco, I will not be willing to make use of the driverless cars services. It's the same thing with the self driving car Telsa have built. Yes, the technology is great but I won't be too quick to trust it to be flawless. I'm going to have to wait and see it in use for years before I would consider using them.
I believe that the availability of 24/7 driverless car services in San Francisco is a big deal for transportation. It makes things more convenient and accessible for everyone, allowing them to travel whenever they want without needing a human driver. This technology has the potential to change transportation as we know it by reducing traffic, improving safety, and lessening the impact on the environment compared to traditional vehicles. However, it's crucial to have proper regulations in place to ensure the safety and security of passengers using these autonomous car services. All in all, the introduction of driverless car services is an exciting step forward in transportation.
While the approval for Waymo and Cruise to launch 24/7 paid driverless car services in San Francisco is undoubtedly a significant milestone, concerns about potential disruptions to bus routes and traffic persist. The benefits are clear, but it's essential for regulators to address these issues effectively to ensure a smooth transition to autonomous vehicles in the city.
I have just read news on the CNBC site, and it has announced that according to the California DMV,

"When there is an unreasonable risk to public safety, the DMV can immediately suspend or revoke permits."

This news was released after receiving a number of safety-related complaints since Cruise received approval in August for 24/7 autonomous car service in San Francisco.

So according to the latest news:

"California DMV suspends Cruise's self-driving car permits, effective immediately".

I think they have made the best decision to suspend their permit because public safety is more important than doing a modern technology-based business.
Thanks for sharing, @Honey. Yeah, I heard about this. It looks like the decision to suspend Cruise's permits was based on a single incident in which a woman was hit by a human driver but then got trapped and drug under a Cruise car that drove over her after she was hit.

In another incident, a Cruise car was traveling through a green light when it collided with a firetruck on its way to an emergency scene.

These examples illustrate the limitations of autonomous technology when it comes replicating human judgment in edge case scenarios. The whole situation is unfortunate because Cruise may be out of the business if they can't continue to operate in California, given the size/influence of the California market. In suspending Cruise's permits, the California DMV stated that "The DMV has provided Cruise with the steps needed to apply to reinstate its suspended permits, which the DMV will not approve until the company has fulfilled the requirements to the department's satisfaction." Hopefully there's still a way forward for the technology while ensuring that these types of incidents cannot happen again.
I still think driverless vehicles should be kept in places like airports that shuttle people to and from the parking lots to the terminals. There are a lot less traffic variables in areas like that.

Anywhere there is a fixed route to be driven on, is where driverless vehicles should be kept.

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.