Zoox, a US-based startup that focuses on developing fully Autonomous and Zero Emission Cars have recently been approved to deploy its Self-Driving Cars for the public, on the streets of California. The approval comes in the form of two permits –
- California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) providing Zoox with Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program Manufacturer’s Testing Permit
- Joining CPUC’s Drivered AV Passenger Service using its Test Autonomous Vehicles only in the presence of a Test Driver
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had recently implemented the “Drivered AV Passenger Service”. This pilot program allows the companies developing Self-Driving Cars to deploy their Autonomous Vehicles (AV) for carrying passengers in real-time.
Zoox has been selected as the first company to enter the CPUC Pilot Program and can now leverage the program privileges to transport passengers in California as a part of the real-time testing of its Self-Driving Technology. However, there is a notable catch here.
As mentioned above CPUC’s Pilot Program is called as ‘Drivered AV Passenger Service’. The keyword to be noted here is ‘Drivered’. This means that though Zoox can deploy its fleet of Self-Driving Cars, they are bound to do so in the presence of a Test Driver in each of the Self-Driving Cars in its AV Fleet.
California PUC was also seen as making a statement of the same via their official Twitter page.
Being a participant of the CPUC Pilot Program comes with a lot of guidelines that Zoox is bound to follow. This includes providing periodic reports to the CPUC on Passenger Safety and Consumer Protection. The report should include data from the following –
- Passenger miles traveled in Zoox’s Self-Driving Cars used for testing
- Data and information on any incidents that may happen during the test rides
- Detailed report on the execution of Passenger Safety Protocols
Some of the other restrictions in the permit include taking rides to airports without proper approval from the airport authorities, roundtrip sightseeing tour service, the presence of taxi meters and top lights and no monetary compensations for any of the rides in the test cars
Yet another major eligibility criteria that participating companies have to fulfill to be qualified for CPUC’s Pilot Program is the presence of DMV’s permit for Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program Manufacturer’s Testing Permit for drivered Testing.
This is definitely a huge step for Zoox in its journey for developing its Autonomous Technology. Given the chance for testing their cars in real-time scenarios will rapidly accelerate the learning curve associated with their Self-Driving Technology. The permit will be valid for a period of three years, until December 21, 2021.
Zoox is currently the third company in the most recent time period to receive the permit for real-time testing of Self-Driving Technology, after Waymo and Uber.