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California authorizes expansion of Waymo's driverless car services to LA, SF peninsula

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators on Friday authorized Waymo to expand services of its fleet of robotaxis into Los Angeles and to cities on the peninsula south of San Francisco.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved Waymo's application for the expansion of its self-driving taxi operations beyond San Francisco starting Friday. The company owned by Google parent Alphabet Inc. has also been operating the service in Phoenix since 2020.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Waymo called the commission's approval a “vote of confidence in our operations, which paves the way for the deployment of our commercial Waymo One service in LA and the SF Peninsula.”

Waymo's cars have become a fairly common sight on the streets of San Francisco, although they are not universally popular and have been known to come to sudden stops that have backed up traffic in the city.

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The expansion for Waymo comes after California authorities revoked the license of a rival robotaxi service owned by General Motors after determining its driverless cars that had been transporting passengers throughout San Francisco were a dangerous menace. A robotaxi run by that company, Cruise, ran over a pedestrian who had been hit by another vehicle driven by a human, and then pinned the pedestrian under one of its tires after coming to a stop.

Officials in San Mateo County and Los Angeles had opposed the expansion and want more local say over how robotaxis can operate.