Waymo’s robot minivans are ready to roll in the Bay Area for the first time since COVID

Waymo’s self-driving cars are returning to Bay Area roads for the first time since the company halted its public testing in early March because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Alphabet-owned company plans to return its fleet of autonomous minivans to service starting June 8th, according to an email obtained by The Verge.

Waymo’s self-driving cars will be put to use delivering packages for two Bay Area non-profits: illustrator Wendy McNaughton’s #DrawTogether, which provides art kits to Bay Area kids; and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The company is the latest autonomous vehicle operator to discover that doing deliveries allows it to sidestep restrictions that would otherwise require them to keep their autonomous vehicles off the road. Waymo, along with the rest of California’s AV companies, paused on-road testing in mid-March after the city issued a “shelter-in-place” order banning all nonessential travel. That order does not have a set end date.