Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has been granted permission to operate fully driverless cars without human drivers behind the steering wheel on public roads in California. The company is the first to receive a driverless permit in the state.
Waymo will restrict its driverless test cars to the neighborhoods of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto. “We know this area well,” the company said in a statement, noting it includes its own headquarters (housed within Google’s X lab) as well as Alphabet’s main campus. If it seeks to expand its testing, Waymo says it will notify the new communities first and obtain permission from the DMV.
Waymo’s permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads, and highways with posted speed limits of up to 65 mph. “Our vehicles can safely handle fog and light rain, and testing in those conditions is included in our permit,” the company says.