The World’s First Fully Driverless Vehicle Ready To Hit The Roads
Waymo has just announced its plans to use vehicles without backup security drivers. This is an important milestone in a sector that has seen many ups and downs and stops and starts.
The company, the self-driving unit of Google's parent Alphabet, announced that it will soon expand its driverless hail service to the general public in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Starting today, October 8th, we are excited to offer Waymo One drivers our driverless service. Members of the public sector can now take friends and family on their journeys and share their experiences with the world," the company said in a blog post.
Waymo's service will be limited to Phoenix for the time being, but the company hopes this will change in the future. Waymo and other autonomous vehicle developers chose Arizona to test because of the apparent lack of restrictions and regulatory hurdles.
However, it is a great advantage over all competitors to offer trips to all customers. Being first always helps with reputation - and sales. Waymo's competitors are still in the test phase.
The company's CEO, John Krafcik, said in a statement that Waymo is looking for an opportunity to bring its driverless services to the company's home state of California next.
Waymo started developing driverless cars in 2017.
The following year, the company joined automaker Jaguar and announced a deal that would include up to 20,000 Jaguar I-PACE electric vehicles in its upcoming autonomous fleet.
The partnership, valued at up to $ 1.5 billion, is yet another sign of Waymo's ambition in the race against time to beat Uber to the definitive self-driving finish line for a driverless hail service. Jaguars will join the Chrysler Pacifica, which has already been used extensively to test the company's autonomous driving technologies.
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Waymo had previously said it was about working with Honda. That relationship didn't blossom, however, and Honda recently announced its intention to launch its own fully autonomous vehicle by 2025.
Waymo competes with several other players to use such vehicles for the masses, but it's not as easy as they all thought years ago. The pandemic also slowed progress.
Ford is also working with Volkswagen and Argo AI in Germany to roll out autonomous vehicle technology in the US and Europe. Due to the pandemic, Ford said it would postpone its launch plans until 2022.
Another of the big three Detroiters, General Motors, unveiled its first driverless vehicle in January and announced it would deliver the first vehicle in the next five years.
Last September, Hyundai announced that it would form a $ 4 billion joint venture with Aptiv to advance the development of production-ready autonomous drive systems. The company announced that it would begin mass producing driverless cars in 2024.
Uber, which was sued by Waymo for stealing its trade secrets and settled for $ 245 million, has had a tough time since a fatal accident involving one of its self-driving cars in 2019.
By Josh Owens for Safehaven.com
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