Self-driving startup Argo AI has received a permit that will allow the company to offer free autonomous rides to members of the public in California.
The approval was provided by the California Public Utilities Commission, which posted the ‘Drivered Pilot’ permit (TCP 39523) to its website last week. This means that unlike the permit recently issued to GM’s Cruise that allows it to operate without a driver, Argo will still require a human safety operator to be behind the wheel.
According to documentation associated with the permit it expires on July 21, 2024, but the company can renew it for additional three-year periods upon request. The permit also does not allow Argo AI to charge fees for autonomous rides.
Argo AI is currently testing their autonomous vehicles in seven US cities, including Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Miami, Austin, Detroit, and Palo Alto. The company also has test vehicles in Munich, Germany.
The permit follows more news from Argo AI last week, which announced with Ford it plans to launch self-driving vehicles on the ride-sharing platform Lyft by the end of the year.