Tech Waymo applies to begin testing driverless cars without backup drivers in California

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Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's self-driving unit, has submitted an application to begin testing driverless cars in California without a backup driver present.

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(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
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  • Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's self-driving vehicle unit, submitted an application to begin testing autonomous vehicles without a backup driver present in California.
  • The testing will take place in the area surrounding the company's Mountain View headquarters, where driverless cars with backup drivers have been tested for a while now.
  • The move follows California's proposal last week to allow self-driving car companies to begin driverless car testing without backup drivers present.

Waymo, Google parent Alphabet's self-driving unit, has submitted an application to begin testing driverless cars in California without a backup driver present.

Originally reported by The San Francisco Chronicle, Waymo will begin the testing near its Mountain View headquarters. The company's self-driving units have been in test runs in the area for a while now, but always with a backup driver. After testing driverless vehicles in the area, Waymo will move to testing in the denser city streets of the Bay Area. A spokesperson for Waymo declined to comment further but pointed us to the company's confirmation of the application to The San Francisco Chronicle.

The move comes a week after the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposal that would change industry rules, allowing self-driving car companies to begin using driverless cars to transport passengers.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles had also recently proposed new rules for the self-driving car industry. The new proposal aligns with the DMV's decision to allow autonomous vehicles to test without a backup driver present.

Waymo's application also comes a weeks after a woman was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle in the first accident of its kind.