Just last month, California's Department of Motor Vehicles issued a permit to Waymo authorizing it to be the first company to receive a permit to test driverless vehicles on public roads, including freeways, highways, and streets, within the cities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Sunnyvale, in Santa Clara County. While Waymo has held a permit to test autonomous vehicles with a driver since 2014, the new permit allows the company to test a fleet of about three dozen test vehicles without drivers behind the wheel. This is just the latest milestone in what most experts agree to be the leading AV program in the industry.
It follows last year’s announcement, that after more than eight years of development, the company was test-driving its vehicles on public roads in Phoenix without anyone in the driver’s seat. A subset of its fleet began operating in fully autonomous mode, with Waymo as the sole driver.