Waymo is a self-driving technology company that originated as a project with Google in 2009. Their mission was to have over ten uninterrupted 100-mile routes drive autonomously using Toyota Prius vehicles. Months after the launch, they succeeded in driving further and longer than had ever been driven autonomously in previous years.
By 2012, over 300,000 miles had been self-driven. The Lexus RX450h was added to the mix, and the journey continued with self-driving on freeways with test drivers from Google employees.
The focus later shifted in 2015 to test the complex nature of city streets that come with the added hazard of pedestrians, cyclists, construction, and more. Later in the year, a new reference vehicle, nicknamed “Firefly,” was released. These cars had custom sensors, computers, steering, and braking, but no steering wheel or pedals. The first test ride in this vehicle was done in Austin, Texas.
In 2016, the Google-owned project became the self-driving technology company, Waymo. In 2017, their first fully-functioning car was released. Now, they are bringing their self-driving car service to the Phoenix area later in 2018. Free, autonomous rides in Phoenix began in November of last year, but now Waymo is introducing a paid service.
The service will be open to the public, and riders will be charged for the service. The pricing is unconfirmed at this point, but when the program fully launches, the complete details will be revealed.
The current program is geofenced and only operates within a certain part of the Phoenix area. Whether that area will expand or not with the new service is unknown. Waymo announced that they are partnering with Jaguar to create the world’s first premium electric self-driving vehicle: the Jaguar I-PACE.
Waymo is committed to helping the public get around safely, and hassle-free without tired, intoxicated, or any kind of distracted driving.
Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more announcements to see how you can catch a ride with Waymo this year.