DMV Approves Cruise and Waymo to Use Autonomous Vehicles for Commercial Service in Designated Parts of Bay Area

Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
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Sacramento, CA 95818
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2021

Sacramento – The California Department of Motor Vehicles today issued autonomous vehicle deployment permits to Cruise LLC and Waymo LLC, allowing the companies to charge a fee and receive compensation for autonomous services offered to the public.

Unlike an autonomous testing permit, which limits the compensation that a manufacturer can receive from the public while validating the technology on public roads, a deployment permit allows a company to make its autonomous technology commercially available outside of a testing program. Commercial passenger service in an autonomous vehicle also requires authorization from the California Public Utilities Commission.

The deployment authorization grants Cruise permission to use a fleet of light-duty autonomous vehicles for commercial services on surface streets within designated parts of San Francisco. The vehicles are approved to operate on public roads between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at a maximum speed limit of 30 miles per hour and can operate in light rain and light fog. Cruise has had state authority to test autonomous vehicles on public roads with a safety driver since 2015 and authority to test autonomous vehicles without a driver since October 2020.

Waymo is authorized to use a fleet of light-duty autonomous vehicles for commercial services within parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. The vehicles are approved to operate on public roads with a speed limit of no more than 65 mph and can also operate in rain and light fog. Waymo has had state authority to test autonomous vehicles on public roads with a safety driver since 2014 and received a driverless testing permit in October 2018.

The DMV has now approved three deployment permits.

Under state law established in 2012, the DMV is required to adopt regulations covering both the testing and public use of autonomous vehicles on California roadways. Regulations to allow for the deployment of autonomous vehicles were adopted and took effect on April 2, 2018. Regulations allowing for light-duty autonomous delivery vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds were approved on December 16, 2019.

In order to receive a deployment permit, manufacturers must certify they meet a number of safety, insurance and vehicle registration requirements, including:

  • Identifying the operational design domain of the vehicles, as well as describing any commonly occurring restricted conditions within which the vehicles would not be able to operate.
  • Verifying the technology is capable of detecting and responding to roadway situations in compliance with the California Vehicle Code, and a description of how the vehicle meets the definition of an SAE Level 3, 4 or 5 autonomous technology.
  • Verifying the vehicles meet federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or have an exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Certifying the manufacturer has conducted test and validation methods and is satisfied that the autonomous vehicles are safe for deployment on California public roads.
  • Developing a Law Enforcement Interaction Plan that provides information to law enforcement and other first responders on how to interact with the autonomous vehicles.
  • Providing evidence of insurance or a bond equal to $5 million.

Additional information on deployment permits is available on the DMV website.

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