Waymo, an autonomous ride-hailing business owned by Alphabet, which also owns Google, is finally going to launch driverless cars soon, according to an e-mail that the company sent to few customers.
While there is no exact timeline, the e-mail posed on Reddit says: “Completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way.” The email was sent to early testers of the Waymo ride-hailing app and the Waymo One service.
Google Self Driving Project
Waymo, initially called Google’s self-driving project, began testing the autonomous vehicle technology back in 2009. However, the company has been slow at pursuing their goal.
It wasn’t until 2016 Waymo opened its first testing center in Chandler, Arizona. However, Waymo picked up the pace after that.
In 2017, the company launched an early rider program in the suburbs around Phoenix, where testers were required to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to participate.
Following lots of testing over the span of two years, Waymo finally decided to commercialize its autonomous taxis. Called “Waymo One,” the service was initially introduced within the Phoenix city for its early rider program users.
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Unlike its rider program, this time, people were allowed to speak about the autonomous fleet and share updates on social media channels. Over time, more and more people have participated in the Waymo One program.
With the new announcement, it appears Waymo is planning to go full throttle with its autonomous fleet of cabs.
What do you need to know before using Waymo Cars?
Apart from the announcement of making driverless cars mainstream, the company has also listed out some information about the entire process of taking up a driverless car.
Since Waymo currently offers rides both with and without backup drivers, a user booking a cab through the Waymo app will be notified if the car will be a driverless one.
The app will feature a “What to expect” button. Tapping on it will open up information about driverless cars.
During the announcement of Waymo One service, Bloomberg reported that the pricing of Waymo cabs would be equivalent to the prices of Uber or other ride-hailing services.