Published in Transportation

Waymo to start first driverless car service

by on14 November 2018

The beginning of a new error

Humanity may take its first paid ride into the driverless car age in a few weeks.

Waymo is planning to launch the world’s first commercial driverless car service in early December, according to a person familiar with the plans. It will launch under a new brand and compete directly with Uber and Lyft.

While it is a milestone for self-driving cars,  it won’t exactly be a “flip-the-switch” moment. Waymo isn’t planning a splashy media event, and the service won’t be appearing in an app store anytime soon, according to the person familiar with the programme.

Things will start small with a few authorised riders in the suburbs around Phoenix.

The first wave of customers will draw from Waymo’s Early Rider Programme — a test group of 400 volunteer families who have been riding Waymos for more than a year.

The customers who move to the new service will be released from their non-disclosure agreements. New customers in the Phoenix area will be gradually phased in as Waymo adds more vehicles to its fleet to ensure a balance of supply and demand.

Waymo’s plan is to plant the seeds of these driverless car programmes in different metro areas across the US and to expand outward gradually.


Last modified on 14 November 2018
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