California DMV Green Lights Waymo and GM Commercial Autonomous Car
October 1, 2021
The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued autonomous vehicle
deployment permits to Cruise and Waymo allowing the companies to charge
a fee and receive compensation for autonomous services offered to the
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
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
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.