Waymo is getting set to launch its autonomous taxi service in Los Angeles this week, and just announced it will launch in Austin this year. Meanwhile, California lawmakers are considering a bill that would give cities more leeway in limiting the company's impact.

Having secured their latest permit approvals from the California Public Utilities Commission, Waymo is pressing ahead with its planned expansion to LA, whether Angelenos want this or not. The company announced in a blog post that the LA launch is tomorrow, March 14, and Waymo will begin by offering free robotaxi rides in a 63-mile area to those who have been admitted into the Waymo One app.

The initial launch area encompasses much of central and "westside" LA, including Santa Monica, Culver City, West Hollywood, Mid-Wilshire, Westlake, and Downtown LA.

The initial LA service area. Map via Waymo

Waymo says it will begin charging for rides in a few weeks in LA, following the initial launch. And, "We’ll permanently welcome riders into our service, gradually onboarding the more than 50,000 people on our LA waitlist and continuing to hand out temporary codes at local events throughout the city."

The launch means there will be more way more Waymo vehicles on Los Angeles freeways shortly, and time will tell whether the autonomous Jaguars do well in that high-speed and sometimes unpredictable environment.

Along with permitting Waymo to enter the LA taxi market, the CPUC also opened the door for Waymo to expand to the San Francisco Peninsula — specifically 22 cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, but not San Jose.

We don't have dates for that expansion yet, but San Mateo County officials pretty immediately voiced some pushback, basically saying they didn't ask for this service, Waymo didn't consult with them, and they want more local-level control on how the robotaxis roll out.

"Waymo failed to communicate in any depth or detail with county staff about the specifics of Waymo’s proposal to expand its operations, largely unfettered, into San Mateo County," county officials wrote in a letter of objection to the CPUC last month.

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said in a public statement, per the Mercury News, that it was "time to pull the plug on Waymo’s unlimited access to our highways and roads in the heart of the Silicon Valley."

"These decisions are currently being made by two state agencies that have not engaged in any meaningful way with county or city officials who understand local roads the best," Canepa said. "We do not want to see the calamities that AVs have caused in San Francisco, including just last week when a Waymo struck a bicyclist. We want to avoid these dangerous scenarios in Silicon Valley and we need local control to do so."

Enter California Senate Bill 915, which is being sponsored by state Senator Dave Cortese of San Jose. As KTVU reports, the bill is gaining momentum in the statehouse, and it would potentially shift the power to cities and counties to issue permits to and set limitations for Waymo and other self-driving taxi companies in the future.

Reportedly, both Los Angeles and Oakland are seeking more local control as Waymo expands.

Waymo took the opportunity at South By Southwest this week to announce its impending expansion to Austin. Texas, of course, has few regulatory hurdles to jump, and the company expects to have its cars giving paid taxi rides there by the end of the year.

Waymo is currently conducting testing across a 43-square-mile swath of Austin, encompassing downtown, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin, and Hyde Park.

Previously: Waymo Gets State Approval for Los Angeles and SF Peninsula Expansion — and Freeway Driving