Self-driving startup Zoox gets OK to offer autonomous rides to the public

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Self-driving car startup Zoox Inc has become the first company to receive approval from California regulators to operate an autonomous ride service for public passengers, state regulators said on Friday.

The California Public Utilities Commission said Silicon Valley-based Zoox is the first company to join a state pilot program in which self-driving cars will transport members of the public, marking a step closer toward fully autonomous urban transportation options.

However, regulators are requiring that a backup test driver remain in the front seat of the car to take over if necessary, and Zoox is not allowed to charge passengers.

Reporting by Heather Somerville; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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