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Waymo One Robotaxi Service Available to “A Few Hundred Customers” in Arizona

Published: December 5, 2018
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Source: cryptogon.com

Meatsack still onboard.

Via: Los Angeles Times:

Robot cars are now officially a real business. Waymo on Wednesday launched a commercial robot ride-hailing service in Arizona called Waymo One.

Like Uber or Lyft, customers will summon a ride with a smartphone app. But in this case, the car will be driving itself.

“This is a game changer. It’s historical in nature,” said Grayson Brulte, who heads driverless car consulting firm Brulte & Co.

Only “a few hundred customers” will have access to the app and participate in the early stages, according to Waymo, which is an arm of Google parent Alphabet Inc. Although the cars will drive themselves, a Waymo engineer will sit behind the wheel in case anything goes wrong.Waymo did not say when the cars will start arriving without a human minder or when the program will be expanded.

Waymo’s cars, Chrysler Pacifica minivans bristling with autonomous driving technology, are available in several eastern and southeastern Phoenix suburbs, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. The fares are similar to those charged by Uber and Lyft.

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Google's sister-company Waymo has announced a trial in which its self-driving cars will ferry shoppers to and from a nearby Walmart store to pick up their groceries.

Less than two months after a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona; local news stations are reporting that a Waymo minivan in autonomous mode was involved in a crash in Chandler, Arizona. As a reminder, Waymo is the self-driving car initiative from Google's parent company Alphabet. The head-on collision occurred at the intersection of Chandler Boulevard and Los Feliz Drive, said Seth Tyler, a Chandler Police Department detective.

From here on out, if you see a car without a driver meandering around suburban Phoenix, don’t be alarmed: It’s just Google's Waymo division testing its new driverless taxis - the first of their kind to be tested on US roads without the supervision of a “safety driver." Wayno has revealed that - effective immediately - it will begin testing the driverless taxis - referred to in technologist parlance as a “level 5” driverless vehicle - in Chandler, Arizona. Thew news represents an important milestone that establishes Waymo as the leader in automated driving technology. Waymo CEO John Krafcik made the announcement Tuesday during in a speech at a web summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

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