May 26, 2022

Waymo, the self-driving arm of Alphabet, has begun offering fully autonomous rides to its employees in San Francisco, the company announced Wednesday.

Waymo will launch its passenger-only business in its “Main San Francisco Service Area,” which stretches from the Presidio to the farthest corner of Candlestick Point, gradually expanding from there.

Having received a license from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Waymo said it will soon begin charging residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to ride a robotic taxi with a human operator. It also followed the launch of the Waymo Trusted Testers program in August, when people from San Francisco signed up to welcome one of Waymo’s all-electric Jaguar I-Pace equipped with a Waymo driver – back on board, but with a human operator – for free. .

San Francisco has become a battleground between Waymo and GM’s self-driving car subsidiary Cruz. In early February, Cruise began opening its fully autonomous taxi service to the public, but has not yet received a CPUC license to charge rides. Waymo did not tell gaming-updates if it had already filed its own permit to charge for driverless rides.

While Waymo in Phoenix, Arizona dominates robotics, Cruise has an experimental autonomous delivery with Walmart, which has recently expanded. The company says Waymo has been testing in Phoenix since 2016 and launched a fully autonomous public taxi service in 2020, offering hundreds of rides every week.

On Wednesday, Waymo also reported that it was deepening its roots in Phoenix and leaving the East Valley. Where a Waymo driver recently completed 500,000 autonomous miles, to the center. As in the past, the company will first meet Waymo employees with offline experts behind the wheel, and then open the service to members of the public through the company’s Trusted Tester program.

“Creating a safe, reliable and versatile autonomous driver is Waymo Drivers whose capabilities and performance are well tolerated across regions and product lines are at the center of our attention,” said Dmitry Dolgov, Waymo co-CEO in a statement. “Just as our past experience has enabled us to quickly and confidently deploy our 5th generation driver in San Francisco, combining our experience in the East Valley of San Francisco and Phoenix, based on millions of miles of real-life driving, is already driving our progress. in downtown Phoenix, driving billions of miles in simulation and preparing us for the future expansion of our fully autonomous taxi service. ,

Waymo said it is currently unable to share changes to the number of vehicles in its San Francisco or Phoenix fleet.

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