General Motors’ Cruise has had a rough few months, ending with it pulling back on autonomous testing efforts across the country. Now, Alphabet’s Waymo is looking to expand, asking the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to grow its services in Los Angeles.
Waymo already has a large operational footprint in San Francisco and is testing rides in Los Angeles, but they’re only by invitation. It announced on X that it would work with local officials, including first responders and lawmakers, to get the service up and running in the city. It also offers free rides in Phoenix and said that it planned to begin testing autonomous vehicles on highways around the city. Waymo plans to expand to Austin, TX, at some point soon.
Cruise’s troubles caused a slight pause in Waymo’s expansion, as the GM-backed entity ran afoul of public sentiment and safety. But, while Cruise paused operations and shook up its executive staff, Waymo’s temporary slowdown appears to be over as it plans these expansions.
The caution with which Waymo is approaching new markets should serve as a reality check for buyers hoping to get their hands on an autonomous vehicle. Even the most advanced driver assistance systems can’t yet take the place of a human driver, and automakers’ sometimes-confusing marketing language isn’t helping.
[Image: Sundry Photography via Shutterstock]
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