Waymo has sent cars to more than 25 US cities at this point for mapping and in some cases has used the maps to initiate tests for driverless vehicles.
The move comes weeks after the city’s transportation ministry approved new rules for testing self-driving cars in the five boroughs, rules the industry has opposed. Companies wishing to test self-driving cars in New York City must receive both a state license and a municipal license. The city’s permit charges a fee of $ 5,000 and, among other measures, requires companies to indemnify the city from all legal responsibilities related to testing.
Ellie Casson, director of government affairs at Waymo, said Crain’s in September that the new licensing process could deter the industry from going here.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio has called self-driving cars dangerous, the tech companies behind autonomous vehicles seem to have a friend in the new mayor. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who won the mayoral election on Tuesday night, previously pledged to make New York City a “self-driving car hub,” with Bitcoin and other technology.
He contributed a quote to the Waymo ad.
âAutonomous vehicles promise to dramatically improve traffic and expand access to convenient and affordable transportation for millions of New Yorkers,â Adams said. “I am delighted to welcome Waymo to New York City so that one day we can have safe autonomous technology on our streets.”
Mobileye, a tech company owned by Intel, began testing an autonomous vehicle in the city this summer under a state permit. The company’s arrival prompted Blasio’s administration to speed up the new regulations.
Waymo plans to eventually add several electric-powered Jaguar I-PACE cars to its New York fleet, which would also be human-driven.