Waymo, the self-driving vehicle technology unit of Google parent Alphabet, Inc. announced yesterday, 8 October that it will officially be relaunching and expanding upon its fully automated, robo-taxi ride hailing service in Phoenix, according to reports from Reuters.
The autonomous driving technology development company will initially start to offer driverless rides in its Pacifica minivans to current members of its ‘Waymo One’ service in Phoenix. It will then expand that offering to anyone that lives within an 80 kilometre radius of Phoenix and downloads its smartphone app.
“Over time, as we improved the capability of our Waymo Driver, we increased the scope and quantity of our operations, with 5-10% of our rides in 2020 being fully driverless for our exclusive group of early riders under NDA. We’ve been gathering key learnings from these riders on how to optimize our driverless service experience and continuously improve it,” said Waymo CEO, John Krafcik in a statement.
The lack of driver or attendant doesn’t mean Waymo will be slacking on its sanitizing measures. Customers will still be reminded to wear a face mask when using the service, and each vehicle will be monitored remotely, with the vans being cleaned regularly. Fiat Chrysler, the company that produce the Pacifica minivans have also developed a system that can flush the air from a minivan once a ride as been completed.
Take a look at a brief demonstration of the driverless taxi below:
You’ve been asking, and now it’s here: Waymo is opening its fully driverless service to the general public in Metro Phoenix. To our valued riders, take a ride and share your experience by tagging #WaymoOne! More here: https://t.co/0066gAbLeg pic.twitter.com/xDTrn6FPjW
— Waymo (@Waymo) October 8, 2020