Waymo Announces 'Fully Self-Driving Cars Are Here,' Taxi Service Coming

Lynne Hanson
November 8, 2017

The company's next goal will be to expand self-driving services to a 600-square mile radius around Phoenix.

Waymo said members of the public will begin riding in its fleet of Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans without human drivers in a test run of the service in the next few months in certain areas of Phoenix, Arizona, which has dry, predictable weather. Vehicles developed by rival Uber - which is locked in a bitter legal fight with Waymo over the technology - has covered more than a million miles and allowed Pittsburgh residents to hitch rides in autonomous vehicles spinning through the Pennsylvania city's streets. He ticked off the ways driverless cars could be redesigned if the vehicle didn't need space for a driver: to ferry groceries, as a "personal dining room" or for naps.

Previously road tests have taken place with a person in the driving seat ready to take the wheel.

In the year since it spun off from Google, Waymo has moved aggressively to test its cars on public roads.

But Waymo isn't going it alone.

The company also shared some details about the expansion of its pilot program in a blog post. In his speech, Krafcik enumerated the many advantages that Waymo's vehicles have over its competitors.

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"Everything in [Waymo's autonomous cars] is designed and built for full autonomy", Krafcik said. Our combination of powerful sensors gives our vehicles a 360 degree view of the world. We also have short range lasers that stay focused close-up to the side of the vehicle.

Chandler's local government has been informed of the driverless cars, and appears to welcome the fame (and scrutiny) that comes with playing host to Waymo's experiment.

Waymo is a company created out of Google's self-driving programme, and was seen as a way to step up efforts to commercialise the firm's industry-leading efforts in autonomy.

Over time it is expected that self-driving technology could dramatically improve the safety on our roads.

Waymo, the driverless auto arm of parent company Alphabet, revealed the "next phase" of the project, which is one of the most developed in autonomous vehicle in the world.

The test without a human in the driver's seat is a first in the United States as large tech companies, big automakers and well-funded startups race to develop fully autonomous cars. Unlike California, which is another hotbed for self-driving vehicle testing, Arizona doesn't require companies to publicly disclose accidents involving its cars, nor the number of times human drivers were forced to take control of their driverless vehicles.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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