Self-driving cars, once a futuristic projection, have already become old news in California. More than 60 companies currently hold permits to test autonomous vehicles, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
But on Friday, California passed a new milestone when it allowed one self-driving car startup, Zoox Inc., to transport passengers for the first time.
Zoox received its permit under a pilot program launched in April by the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC.
“This is a really, really significant milestone as we head towards commercial launch, which we have stated is toward the end of 2020,” Bert Kaufman, head of corporate and regulatory affairs at Zoox, told Reuters.
There are a few catches. Zoox can’t charge for the trips, and each autonomous vehicle, or AV, has to have a certified backup driver.