Utilities Commission Won’t Back Down on Robo Taxis

State regulators have rejected San Francisco’s request to pause and reconsider robo taxi services by autonomous vehicle company Waymo.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved commercial deployment of Waymo vehicles in San Francisco over the summer. The move came in spite of objections from local authorities. 

San Francisco’s planning department and transit agencies had recently called for a rehearing, arguing that the commission “ignored alleged public safety hazards and potential environmental impacts.”

CPUC did recently halt robo taxi services by another company, Cruise, following a similar decision by the Department of Motor Vehicles. These decisions were prompted by a series of harrowing incidents involving Cruise vehicles, which were allegedly covered up by the company.

However, as reported by The Business Journals, Waymo avoided a similar fate when the CPUC met on Nov. 9. The body denied San Francisco’s application for a rehearing, a request for oral argument, and a pause in Waymo’s vehicle deployment. The CPUC said the city had failed to demonstrate any legal error made by the commission and instead reiterated arguments that were rejected the first time. 

Cruise may be mortally wounded, but California’s autonomous vehicle expansion is very much alive.