One of the hidden challenges for getting IoT cars onto the road is law and legislation. It’s part of the reason why companies can’t just invent the driverless car and roll it onto the road immediately; there’s a lot of safety checks and tests that need to be passed until they’re road-legal.
It’s big news, then, that Waymo has gotten permission from the California lawmakers to deploy driverless cars on the road. This may well be the first step to seeing a driverless car on a road near you!
How Waymo Achieved Their Goal
California has a special program called the Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot program, which promotes the idea of driverless vehicles in the state. Under this program, Waymo managed to get approval to deploy their cars.
At the same time, TechCrunch reports that around sixty companies have permits for driverless cars – so why is Waymo special? It’s because Waymo now has permission to carry around personnel in their cars, instead of simply testing the cars on the roads.
There were no time restrictions on how long Waymo can take to deploy these cars, so for now they’re only letting employees and visitors to Silicon Valley take a ride.
“This is the next step on our path to eventually expand and offer more Californians opportunities to access our self-driving technology, just as we have gradually done with Waymo One in Metro Phoenix,” said a Waymo spokesperson.
The Restrictions on Waymo
Waymo doesn’t have free rein over the roads, however. They have to abide by a few rules in order to keep things in check.
For one, Waymo can’t charge people for their services just yet. This is why the service is being used to shuttle employees and visitors and isn’t being rolled out to the public.
Also, Waymo isn’t allowed to put someone in a car and let it drive by itself. Every Waymo car must have an assistant on-hand in case something goes wrong. Some may argue that this defeats the purpose of a “self-driving car,” but in these early stages, it may help prevent a nasty crash or two!
When Will We See “True” Driverless Cars as Taxis?
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to tell when we’ll see unassisted driverless cars on our roads, taking us wherever we want to go. Waymo’s foray into putting passengers into driverless cars is definitely a positive step forward, but it may still be a while until we’ll see them in our cities, even with an assistant at the wheel.
For now, we have to hope that the advancement by Waymo proves to be promising. If things go wrong, the lawmakers and the general public may get cold feet about driverless cars and decide that the manual versions are better.
Driving Forward to a Driverless Future
Waymo’s advancement in the self-driving car niche may seem small, but we may be witnessing the first steps to making driverless cars a reality. If you ever find yourself in Silicon Valley, perhaps you may even get a test ride before anyone else!
Would you climb into one of Waymo’s assisted, free driverless cars? Let us know below.