Google Self-Driving Spinoff Waymo Begins Testing With Public in San Francisco

Anybody can sign up for Waymo's ride-hailing app, though the company is hand-selecting who it picks up.

Google Self-Driving Spinoff Waymo Begins Testing With Public in San Francisco

Waymo last October started allowing anyone to buy rides in its Chrysler Pacifica minivans in some suburbs

Highlights
  • Anybody can sign up for Waymo's ride-hailing app
  • The company wants feedback from people with differing backgrounds
  • The launch followed three years of testing

Alphabet's Waymo has started taking a few San Franciscans on rides in its self-driving sport utility vehicles and hopes to open the robotaxis to anyone in the city in less than the three years it took to launch in its only other market.

Waymo's announcement on Tuesday of its status and plans in San Francisco, a small peninsula of hills, trolleys, bicycles, and narrow streets, shows the length that remains before driverless transport becomes commonplace.

The company's all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUVs initially are serving the more residential western and southern portions of the city, including Richmond and Bernal Heights. Operators are in driver's seats with hands on their knees - but prepared to steer in an emergency.

Anybody can sign up for Waymo's ride-hailing app, though the company is hand-selecting who it picks up with the list expected to grow gradually to hundreds of people. Waymo bars them from publicly discussing rides.

Sam Kansara, senior product manager at Waymo, acknowledged that autonomous vehicles are rolling out slower than Waymo and its many rivals had originally envisioned.

"There's a lot that remains to be done," Kansara said. "This is a step about starting to now get more information so that we can inform our roadmap."

The company wants feedback from people with differing backgrounds and commuting needs. It expects many riders to weigh in on challenges with hopping on and off because of San Francisco's limited curb space and rampant double parking.

Employees riding in the city since February gave the company confidence to expand to the public, Kansara said.

Waymo last October in a first-of-its-kind deployment in the United States for the industry started allowing anyone to buy rides in its fully driverless Chrysler Pacifica minivans in some Phoenix, Arizona, suburbs.

The launch followed three years of testing, but Kansara said he hopes lessons learned from that experience will bring about swifter progress in San Francisco.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


Are the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 still made for enthusiasts — or are they good enough for everyone? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
Comments

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Further reading: Google, Waymo, Robotaxi
Xbox Series X/ S, Xbox One Consoles Will Get Xbox Cloud Gaming With Game Pass Ultimate

Related Stories

Share on Facebook Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment
 
 

Advertisement

Advertisement

© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2021. All rights reserved.
Listen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com