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Waymo gets green light for LA robotaxi service despite city objections

Published 2024-03-04, 06:13 a/m
Updated 2024-03-04, 11:15 a/m
© Reuters.  Waymo gets green light for LA robotaxi service despite city objections

Proactive Investors - Autonomous vehicles company Waymo, a sister company of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), has been authorized to launch its robotaxi service in Los Angeles County.

Despite the California Public Utilities Commission's approval, local leaders have raised safety concerns following a tumultuous start in San Francisco, while sector experts say there remain significant challenges for the company to operate in the city, including that it does not have permission to carry the public on freeways.

The company's foray into Los Angeles, America's second-largest city, has not been without incident. On the first day after authorization, an attempted grand theft auto occurred when a man tried to steal a Waymo vehicle in downtown Los Angeles and was arrested by the LAPD.

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement to the media that the CPUC's approval was "a dangerous decision" and: "These robotaxis are far too untested and Angelenos shouldn’t be big tech’s guinea pigs."

A Waymo spokeswoman said: "As always, we'll take a careful and incremental approach to expansion by continuing to work closely with city officials, local communities and our partners to ensure we’re offering a service that’s safe, accessible and valuable to our riders."

Waymo, which has been operating a limited invitation-only service in LA since last year, has been able to offer paid rides in nearby San Francisco since last August and in Phoenix, Arizona since 2020.

It has a good safety record but has not been totally without issues, with one of its vehicles reported to have killed a dog and another struck and injured a cyclist.

Rival robotaxi company Cruise, owned by General Motors Company (NYSE:NYSE:GM), lost its licence to operate in California after less than a year after hitting a pedestrian.

Read more on Proactive Investors CA

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