CA regulator re-affirms decision to allow Waymo to expand to rest of SF Peninsula

Driverless taxi company, Waymo, was once again given the green light by state regulators to begin picking up passengers on the rest of the peninsula. On Thursday, The California Public Utilities Commission reaffirmed its decision from May to let Waymo expand beyond San Francisco to San Mateo County.

"I would get in one. I’ve gotten in one," said Giselle Bruce of Redwood City. "I mean this is the future and if we can’t head into the future in Silicon Valley, then where can we head into the future."

"I’m a little worried," said Anca Rugescu of Redwood City. "I don’t think that we’re ready yet for completely no human, driving autonomous."

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said safety was one of his key concerns when he asked the California Public Utilities Commission to review its March decision allowing Waymo to expand to his county. 

"I’m gravely concerned that the technology is not ready, and the last thing I want to do is move this forward, and that’s why I think I and others are saying no to Waymo," said San Meteo County Supervisor David Canepa.

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into Waymo after receiving reports of 22 incidents involving the cars, 17 of which were collisions. Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, said at the time in a statement that it would continue working with the regulator as part of its "mission to become the world’s most trusted driver." 

"I guess there’s some concerns about safety with self-driving taxis and all, but if they can manage it, I think that would be pretty cool to have in the city," said Eric Dubbel of Redwood City.

Earlier this week, State Senator Dave Cortese withdrew a bill designed to give local governments the ability to regulate self-driving cars after he said the committee reviewing it wanted to strip out its essential elements.

"Right now it seems to be business as usual at the highest levels of the State of California…They basically said they don’t believe in any kind of local control whatsoever," said State Sen. Dave Cortese.

Waymo released a statement on Thursday, which said in part, "This week’s outcomes reflect California's already expansive authority to regulate autonomous vehicles…ultimately preserving the ability for Californians to continue enjoying the benefits of AVs."