Waymo has obtained a driverless testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the company announced Tuesday.
It is the first company to receive a fully driverless permit in the state, and it gives the Google spinoff the green light to test its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans on the Golden State’s public roads.
Waymo said a fleet of 40 fully autonomous cars will drive day and night on city streets, rural roads, and highways—initially around Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto. Unlike in previous tests, they will not have a safety driver—only steering wheels, brake pedals, and other manual controls specified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A remote operator will monitor the cars’ progress and, in the event that something goes wrong, take over.
Waymo will notify new communities and submit requests to the California DMV as it expands beyond the initial sites, as required by law. The first few riders will be members of the Waymo team, and the company said that eventually, it’ll create opportunities for members of the public to test them. The DMV finalized regulations for fully driverless cars in February, and a few months later, in April, Waymo applied for a permit.
Waymo announced earlier in July that its test fleet of self-driving cars had reached 8 million miles driven, and at the time the vehicles were covering 25,000 miles a day.
Source: Venture Beat