Over 60 different companies have already been granted permits to begin testing out their autonomous, diver-less vehicles in California, but Zoox is the first to be allowed to begin moving people within those cars. The California Public Utilities Commission recently granted Zoox the permit to be apart of the state's Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot.
During the testing period, Zoox must have a safety driver behind the wheel and will not be allowed to charge passengers for rides. And, as part of the program, Zoox must provide data and reports to the CPUC regarding any incidents, number of passenger miles traveled and passenger safety protocols.
“This is an important milestone on our pathway to deploying a fully autonomous commercial service,” Zoox head of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs told TechCrunch via email.
This comes three months after Zoox tested autonomous rides as part of the Global Action Summit, and four months after Zoox co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay’s ouster from the company in late August. His firing came about a month after Zoox closed a $500 million funding round led by Mike Cannon-Brookes of Grok Ventures, which brought its total amount of funding to $800 million.
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