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Waymo’s Robotaxi Expansion Faces Safety Concerns Waymo’s Robotaxi Expansion Faces Safety Concerns

Recently, a California regulator has decided to suspend Waymo‘s GOOGL expansion plans for its robotaxi services. The decision is a result of the increasing safety concerns surrounding autonomous vehicles.

Postponed Expansion

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has postponed Waymo’s application to extend its driverless services to parts of Los Angeles and San Francisco’s peninsula. The suspension will be in effect until June 19, as reported by Reuters on Wednesday.

Waymo’s application, submitted on Jan. 19, has been “suspended for further staff review,” according to the CPUC website. The application was not approved within the initial 30-day review period, leading to the suspension. This period can last for up to 120 days and can be extended for an additional 180 days if the application is not approved, rejected, or withdrawn.

Safety Incidents

The decision comes amid a series of safety incidents involving Waymo and rival General Motors GM Cruise. These incidents have sparked public criticism and calls for stricter regulation of autonomous vehicles in California.

Earlier this month, a Waymo self-driving car was vandalized and set on fire in San Francisco’s Chinatown. This incident, described as the most severe attack on autonomous vehicles in the U.S. to date, has added to the growing safety concerns surrounding robotaxis.

Concerning Developments

The recent suspension of Waymo’s expansion plans follows a series of concerning incidents involving the company’s autonomous vehicles. Despite resistance from various quarters, including the police and fire departments, Waymo and GM’s Cruise received driverless deployment permits for 24×7 operation in San Francisco from the CPUC in August.

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Waymo’s robotaxi expansion faces scrutiny from regulators and the public alike. The string of safety incidents has placed a red light on Waymo’s ambitions, signaling caution in the development of driverless technology.

It remains to be seen how the company will navigate these challenges and address the growing concerns about the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles, particularly in densely populated urban areas.