Waymo is now offering the Phoenix public rides in its driverless cars

The Google self-driving project Waymo started testing its driverless technology in the city of Phoenix back in 2017. Now, three years later, Waymo has announced plans to open its fully autonomous cars to the city’s wider population.

In a similar style to Uber or Lyft, people can now book a trip using the Waymo app and invite their friends or family to join them for a ride. “In the near term, 100 percent of our rides will be fully driverless,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.

Once the company adds barriers to its vehicles that separate the front row seats from the rear passenger cabin, Waymo will start offering rides with trained operators again. The move will allow the company to open up the service to more people and service a larger geographical area. Waymo currently operates in a 100-square-mile area that includes the Tempe and Mesa suburbs of Phoenix. However, it’s driverless cars are currently limited to a 50-square-mile operating area.

Although they may be driverless, Waymo’s cars aren’t necessarily left to their own devices. A team of remote employees keep tabs on the vehicles, and can step in if something goes awry.

Can Waymo claim its fully driverless then?

Not exactly. But the guarantee that someone can take the wheel remotely might make people feel more at ease about getting into the vehicles—after all, a recent report found that 48 percent of Americans said they would never get into a self-driving taxi.

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Waymo is now offering the Phoenix public rides in its driverless cars

The Google self-driving project Waymo started testing its driverless technology in the city of Phoenix back in 2017. Now, three years later, Waymo has announced plans to open its fully autonomous cars to the city’s wider population.

In a similar style to Uber or Lyft, people can now book a trip using the Waymo app and invite their friends or family to join them for a ride. “In the near term, 100 percent of our rides will be fully driverless,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said.

Once the company adds barriers to its vehicles that separate the front row seats from the rear passenger cabin, Waymo will start offering rides with trained operators again. The move will allow the company to open up the service to more people and service a larger geographical area. Waymo currently operates in a 100-square-mile area that includes the Tempe and Mesa suburbs of Phoenix. However, it’s driverless cars are currently limited to a 50-square-mile operating area.

Although they may be driverless, Waymo’s cars aren’t necessarily left to their own devices. A team of remote employees keep tabs on the vehicles, and can step in if something goes awry.

Can Waymo claim its fully driverless then?

Not exactly. But the guarantee that someone can take the wheel remotely might make people feel more at ease about getting into the vehicles—after all, a recent report found that 48 percent of Americans said they would never get into a self-driving taxi.

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