Passengers ride in an electric Waymo with fully autonomous technology in Santa Monica

Alan J. Shaben | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

of the alphabet Waymo’s robotaxi unit has received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to expand service to parts of Los Angeles and the Bay Area, according to an announcement posted on the regulator’s website on Friday.

“Waymo may begin driverless passenger transportation services in the designated areas of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Peninsula beginning today,” the announcement said.

In mid-February this year Waymo initiated a voluntary recall notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, saying it would fix software problems. The recall follows two previously undisclosed incidents that occurred in Phoenix on Dec. 11 in which Waymo self-driving vehicles crashed into the same towed pickup truck within minutes of each other.

The collisions added to existing concerns about the use of autonomous vehicles in California. Competing taxi and transit providers and labor activists worry about driver job losses, while safety advocates have written letters to regulators and politicians asking them to thwart Waymo’s expansion in the state.

The CPUC rejected an earlier proposal by Waymo to expand its ride-hailing services in Los Angeles and San Mateo County in late February.

In its letter Friday, the regulator said it approved the new proposal, which was due in part to Waymo’s “updated passenger safety plan (PSP) submitted in conjunction with its expanded operational design (ODD) for deployment,” which was also approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Waymo’s progress in California comes next General Motors-own cruise and An apple has divested its autonomous vehicle business in California, while Elon Musk’s has Tesla has yet to develop an autonomous vehicle that can safely operate without a human driver at the controls.

California regulators halted operations of the self-driving robotic cruises in October after a series of incidents, including one that resulted in the robotics tipping over a pedestrian who was first hit by a human-driven car and then pulled forward about 20 feet by the cruise vehicle .

Waymo’s new approvals allow the company’s robotaxi to operate near Tesla’s engineering headquarters in Palo Alto in San Mateo County.

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