Regulators in the US state of California have given the green signal to autonomous car companies Cruise and Waymo to run commercial robotaxi services across San Francisco 24/7.

After a six-hour hearing, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted in favor of the companies late on Thursday, despite protests from residents and city agencies, reports TechCrunch.

Cruise and Waymo currently offer limited paid services in San Francisco, with a human safety operator present.

The permit extension allows the companies to expand their services significantly and with no limit on the number of robotaxis they can put on the roads, said the report.

“Today is the first of many steps in bringing AV transportation services to Californians,” said CPUC Commissioner John Reynolds.

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Waymo said the decision as “a major moment” in the history of autonomous vehicles.

“Today’s permit marks the true beginning of our commercial operations in San Francisco,” said Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo.

Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt called it “a huge milestone for the AV industry, but even more importantly a signal to the country that CA prioritizes progress over our tragic status quo.”

However, several people called out the companies for not deploying robotaxis that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Can driverless vehicles assist passengers who need escorting to and from the vehicle?” asked Laura Massey, a member of San Francisco’s Paratransit Coordinating Council.

Others expressed concerns that Waymo and Cruise discriminate against the unbanked and those who aren’t digitally literate.

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