Firm wins passenger OK for self-driving cars in California

December 21, 2018 - 7:38 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Self-driving car startup Zoox Inc. has won permission to start offering rides to passengers in California.

The Public Utilities Commission granted Zoox a permit Friday to ferry riders in autonomous vehicles under a pilot program — but Zoox can't charge for the service and a backup driver must be in the car.

Zoox is the first company to win authorization for passenger service in the state but dozens of others already have permits to test driverless cars on public roads.

Earlier this month, Google spinoff Waymo started a small paying passenger service in the Phoenix area of Arizona, where regulations are less rigid than in California.

General Motors plans to offer a ride-hailing service next year in at least one U.S. city through its Cruise autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

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