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California DMV Approves Waymo Autonomous Vehicles In Some Cities

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 01, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Waymo won the driverless car lottery, getting the first permit to go truly driverless in California.

Scores of car companies have been operating autonomous cars with "safety drivers" for years. But according to reports, Waymo is the first to legally put cars on the street with nobody in the driver's seat.

Waymo vehicles have been rolling since 2014, but 2018 is the year they get their own license. That's one small step for Waymo, one giant leap for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

This Is a Test

The DMV says the new permit "allows the company to test a fleet of about three dozen test vehicles without drivers behind the wheel." So, it's a learner's permit.

The vehicles can operate in a handful of cities in Silicon Valley -- because they started it. That includes Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View -- where Waymo was born.

"Mountain View is home to more than a dozen autonomous vehicle companies, and has supported safe testing for years," the company said.

In other words, the special permit will keep the cars close to the manufacturer -- just in case.

Driverless Permit

The driverless permit allows Waymo cars during the day and night on city streets, rural roadways, and highways. They will be permitted to go up to 65 miles per hour in fog or light rain.

They will not take passengers for now -- like the limitation for teenagers who get their learner's permit. Only, there will be no teenagers or adults in the Waymo cars.

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