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Waymo's expansion into San Mateo County suspended by California agency

PIX Now - Morning Edition 2/21/24
PIX Now - Morning Edition 2/21/24 09:00

Waymo's driverless taxi expansion into Sunnyvale and Los Angeles was temporarily stopped by the California Public Utilities Commission.

In mid-January, Waymo sought permission from the CPUC's Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division to increase its operations area from San Francisco to San Mateo and expand into parts of LA.

The move frustrated public officials in the requested areas, as some felt Waymo didn't consult them about the expansion.

Waymo Expansion
Waymo sought permission from the CPUC to expand its operating area from San Francisco to Sunnyvale. Waymo

However, the CPED stopped the expansion, suspending it for up to 120 days, during which time staff will further review the request.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Vice President David Canepa released a statement regarding the suspension.

"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." Canepa wrote.

Waymo has seen its share of struggles in the recent month. On Feb. 6, one of its vehicles was involved in a crash with a cyclist.

In a statement, Waymo said the vehicle had been stopped at the intersection and after a large truck went through, the vehicle proceeded. However, the bicyclist had quickly followed the truck through the intersection and was partially occluded by the truck, crossing into the vehicle's path, Waymo said.

And on Feb. 10, a group in San Francisco's Chinatown set fire to an unoccupied Waymo vehicle.

The "crowd surrounded and vandalized the vehicle, breaking the window and throwing a firework inside, which set the vehicle on fire," said Sandy Karp, a Waymo spokesperson.

Mayor London Breed condemned the vandalism.

"It was an unacceptable act that has no place in our city, and we will work to hold those who committed it accountable," Breed said.

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