Waymo Offers Free Rides To Phoenicians In Driverless Cars
On Tuesday, Waymo, the company that Google founded to pursue driverless cars, said it plans to offer hundreds of Phoenix residents rides on demand in its self-driving cars. During the trial, Waymo will not charge for the service. Interested parties must apply to be part of the trial.
Writing on Medium, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said "rather than offering people one or two rides, the goal of this program is to give participants access to our fleet every day, at any time, to go anywhere within an area that’s about twice the size of San Francisco."
The rollout has some similarities to Uber's venture in Pittsburgh, though that effort has hit its share of bumps in the road. Waymo plans to use a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans and Lexus RX450h SUVs modified to drive themselves. The company is quick to point out all trips will be overseen by a human test driver.
The goal of the trial is to find out how people will actually use a service like that provided by the Waymo vehicles.
"Over the course of this trial, we’ll be accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs," Krafcik said. "We’ll learn things like where people want to go in a self-driving car, how they communicate with our vehicles, and what information and controls they want to see inside."