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Self-drive cars could soon carry passengers in California

Passengers could soon travel in driverless cars around the streets of California.

The historic achievement is on the verge of being realised after regulators in the US state issued a proposal for a pilot test of passenger-carrying autonomous vehicles.

The Public Utility Commission's proposal comes in two parts: one that would allow testing with a driver, and a second that would allow testing without a driver.

California's Department of Motor Vehicles announced only a month ago that it would begin accepting applications for fully driverless cars to test on public roads in the state.

The latest announcement comes shortly after Uber started sending self-driving trucks on delivery runs across Arizona.

The ride-hailing service hopes the development will be the first step in the freight transportation revolution.

And after testing its technology in 2017, the firm has begun contracting with trucking companies to use their own autonomous trucks.

At present, the truck is self-driving with an Uber employee riding in the driver's seat - but, crucially, it does not drive.

Aiden Woodrow, who leads Uber's self-driving truck effort, explained: "The big step for us recently is that we can plan to haul goods in both directions, using Uber Freight to coordinate load pickups and dropoffs with local truckers.

"Keeping trucking local allows these drivers to make money while staying closer to home."

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