Waymo Applies for Major Expansion in San Francisco & Los Angeles

Waymo, Alphabet Inc’s self-driving division, has applied for permission to extend its robotaxi service to the Los Angeles area, while also planning a substantial expansion in the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA).

The proposed expansion in the San Francisco Bay area is extensive, stretching from San Francisco all the way south and east to Sunnyvale, according to filings with the California Public Utilities Commission (PCUC). If approved, this would makr a significant expansion from Waymo’s current service that covers much of the San Francisco core and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Waymo’s expansion in Los Angeles, California’s largest city, marks another strategic step for the company. Currently in the test phase and accessible only through invitations, the full operation of its fleet in LA now awaits regulatory approval.

Proposed Los Angeles service area (Credit: Waymo)

Waymo’s plans for expansion comes at a time when the autonomous vehicle sector has faced increased scrutiny following incidents involving other companies like General Motors’ Cruise, which recently paused its operations and slashed its fleet after an accident involving a pedestrian.

In response, Waymo has released data indicating an 85% reduction in injury-causing crashes and a 57% reduction in police-reported crash rates compared to human-driven vehicles, based on over 7 million miles of data from Waymo rides in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco.

Waymo also recently started its first tests on freeways in Phoenix, Arizona, without human drivers. Additionally, the company has set its sights on Austin, Texas, as part of its broader expansion strategy.

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