Waymo says fully driverless rides are coming to San Francisco
A driverless Waymo vehicle operating in San Francisco.Waymo
Waymo plans to start offering rides in its fully autonomous vehicles — without human safety drivers behind the wheel — in San Francisco. The Google spinoff says its driverless vehicles are now only available to employees but will soon grow to include members of the company’s “Trusted Tester” program.
Waymo is also making big moves in Arizona. The company’s service area is finally growing to include downtown Phoenix after operating exclusively in the exurban towns of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe for nearly five years.
Waymo has been running fully driverless rides without a safety driver in those towns outside of Phoenix for more than a year now. The company is one of a handful trying to launch a wide-scale commercial service built around autonomous vehicles, like Argo AI (which is backed by Ford and Volkswagen) and Cruise (which is backed by General Motors).
Waymo has been testing AVs in San Francisco for a decade
Waymo has been testing AVs in San Francisco for a decade, dating back to when it was still just a quirky project inside Google’s X division. In 2017, the company launched a limited ride-hail service outside of Phoenix, which eventually grew to include over 300 vehicles.
That’s how things stayed for several years, with Waymo meticulously focusing its efforts on a small service area in Arizona. Eventually, the company expanded its testing near Google’s headquarters in Mountain View to include the dense, complex streets of San Francisco.