Waymo said members of his service, Waymo One, will be able to ride in driverless cars in the Phoenix area.
Existing Waymo One members will had access to driverless rides, but the company promises to extend the service to the general public, through its application, available on Google Play and the App Store.
Go without a driver, but not alone
Although the name may make you think of a lonely trip, without someone to accompany you in the car, it’s a little early to hope so.
The public should not expect hundreds of Waymo cars to suddenly flood the streets of Phoenix without the assistance of a specialist.
Waymo has 600 vehicles in its fleet, but of these, we do not know exactly how many will be taken to the streets without a driver.
Some of these will be “passenger only”, while other vehicles will still have safety operators trained at the wheel. Part of the fleet will also be used for testing.
“We are ready in all respects,” said John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo.
“And how do we know we are ready?” We had our wonderful group of early pilots, who helped us to improve the service, obviously not in terms of safety, because we have been confident in terms of safety for some time, but more for the fit of the product itself ”.
Waymo promises to relaunch the rides with a trained vehicle operator somewhere by the end of this year to increase the capacity and geographical area of the service.
A whole history of autonomous vehicles in just a few years
The last five years have been particularly busy for Waymo, starting with Steve Mahan’s first driverless ride aboard the Firefly prototype in August 2015.
In 2017, driverless trips were made available to several journalists on a closed course at the Waymo testing facility in Castle.
In 2017, Waymo launched its initial passenger program, with autonomous vehicles that had safety operators at the wheel.
Waymo then launched Waymo One, a self-driving service for public use, but this service also had safety operators ready to take control if necessary.
The first significant signs that Waymo was ready to bring people into vehicles without safety operators appeared last fall, when members of its program received an email indicating that driverless rides would soon become available.
And they did. These driverless rides were limited and free, and will then be extended to 5% -10% of its entire vehicle fleet.
Krafcik also said that Waymo will add to its fleet the all-electric model, the Jaguar I-Pace, after it will be tested for autonomous racing.