First company approved for autonomous passenger vehicle program

Dec 22, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – A Silicon Valley startup won permission Friday to offer rides to passengers in autonomous vehicles that have a trained test driver present. The California Public Utilities Commission approved Zoox to be the first company in a pilot program that will test autonomous cars that have a driver ready to take over if needed.

Companies participating in the “Drivered AV Passenger Service” program will submit data on incidents and passenger miles traveled in the test vehicles, along with passenger safety and consumer protection elements, according to the utilities commission.

In addition, the program will test autonomous cars that are zero-emission vehicles. Under the program, Zoox may not charge passengers for rides in the test autonomous cars. No information on when the company would start the program was immediately available.

Based in Foster City, Zoox has already obtained an Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program Manufacturer’s Testing Permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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