Self-driving taxi service Waymo has had a 120-day suspension, halting its efforts to expand its operations in 2024.

The California-based company applied to expand its robotaxi service to Los Angeles and San Mateo counties, but had the process suspended for 120 days by the California Public Utilities Commission’s Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED). This doesn’t mean that Waymo has to stop its current operations but does infringe on its plans for the future.

At the moment, Waymo has operated a fleet of driverless vehicles in San Francisco since March of 2023 following a trial in Santa Monica, offering a 24/7 service. It recently expanded to include some areas of Los Angeles and had planned to expand its service in 2024 but will now need to wait until at least June 2024.

Why was the application suspended?

According to the CPED’s website, the application has been suspended for further review. However, Tech Crunch reported on Wednesday, February 21 that San Mateo County Board of Supervisors vice president David J. Canepa said it came down to public safety concerns.

“Since Waymo has stalled any meaningful discussions on its expansion plans into Silicon Valley, the CPUC has put the brakes on its application to test robotaxi service virtually unfettered both in San Mateo and Los Angeles counties,” Mr Canepa said. “This will provide the opportunity to fully engage the autonomous vehicle maker on our very real public safety concerns that have caused all kinds of dangerous situations for firefighters and police in neighboring San Francisco.”

As part of its application, Waymo had contacted several government and business organizations, including government officials in San Meteo’s Burlingame, Daly City and Foster City. The content of these discussions has not been made public but if Mr Canepa is to be believed, it seems local governments are as yet unconvinced about the safety of the driverless vehicles.

Featured image: Unsplash

Rachael Davis

Freelance Journalist

Rachael Davies
has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on Muck Rack or follow her on social media on X.


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