California regulators approve expansion of robotaxi services in San Francisco

California regulators on Thursday approved an expansion of citywide robotaxi service in San Francisco, despite reservations from city officials and residents after incidents in which unmanned vehicles have blocked traffic, including the path of emergency vehicles.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission voted to approve rival services from Cruise and Waymo to operate around-the-clock service. It will make San Francisco first major U.S. city with two fleets of driverless vehicles competing for passengers against ride-hailing and taxi services dependent on humans to operate the cars.


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Waymo and Cruise may soon win approval to allow their self-driving taxis to rove San Francisco streets 24 hours a day.

It’s a distinction San Francisco officials didn’t want, largely because of the headaches that Cruise and Waymo have been causing in the city while testing their robotaxis on a restricted basis during the past year.