Robotaxi Expansion Gets Green Light In San Francisco

Robotaxi Expansion Gets Green Light In San Francisco

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Two autonomous “robotaxi” companies in San Francisco received the green light to start increasing their operations in the city, after previously facing limits on when or where they could charge for rides.

The promise of driverless car services transforming transport has been very slow to develop since they first came into the public eye over a decade ago, having been faced with technology glitches, safety fears, and high-profile accidents involving vehicles.

According to BBC News, responses to this decision vary, with analysts calling it the beginning of a new era for driverless car services, and officials from the police and firefighters sounding their firm objection. Many critics expressed their concerns about safety records, claiming the cars often caused traffic incidents by abruptly shutting down or failing to make way for emergency responders.

In their approval statement, the commissioners acknowledged that data on how autonomous vehicle safety records compare with regular cars was limited.

Commissioner John Reynolds said that while they don’t have the data to judge autonomous cars against human drivers, he personally believes in the potential of the technology to increase safety on the roadway.

But despite the buzz caused by the announcement, citizens may need to wait to experience the taxi of the future- one of the companies, Waymo, had said it was planning a gradual expansion of the program, adding that more than 100,000 people in the Bay Area had registered for the service, which has a waiting list and is not yet fully open to the public. Cruise, the second company, also has a waiting list and said it expected to expand gradually.