Google parent company Alphabet’s driverless ride-hailing service will launch in the US in the next few months

Waymo, Google parent company Alphabet’s autonomous car project, will launch a completely driverless rival to ride-hailing service Uber in the next few months, CEO John Krafcik has announced.

The scheme will launch in Phoenix, Arizona, US, a city known for its dry and predictable weather, reports Reuters, with members of the public requesting a ride through a smartphone app. Waymo engineers are still working on the system’s operation during heavy rain and snow. 

Waymo’s cars will be fully driverless Chrysler Pacifica MPVs, which the company has been testing since the project’s announcement last year.

No driver will sit in the front seat, although initially, a Waymo employee will be in the car in case of emergency. This is only temporary, however. Once members of the public begin riding solo, the cars will be equipped with a killswitch as a precaution. 

Arizona’s relaxed laws on driverless cars made the state a more suitable location for the scheme’s introduction, rather than Waymo's comparatively legislation-heavy home state of California. 

The service, which is free of charge for now, will be rolled out in more areas later, although a timeframe hasn't been specified. The widespread media coverage coupled with fees for use (to be introduced later) will help to offset some of the development costs.

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Comments
4

8 November 2017

"No driver will sit in the front seat, although initially, a Waymo employee will be in the car in case of emergency" so there will be a driver.

And love the kill switch name tag, good luck on the Elephant and Castle commute

 

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8 November 2017

Why are you very sceptical about driverless? I think they will change our world - probably more than any other advance in our lifetime? 

8 November 2017

XXXX - just cos someones sat in the front seat doesnt make them a driver - they didnt specify what seat, so using your logic front seat passengers must also be drivers. Its clear to people with at least a modicum of inteligence that the guy sat in the front seat will not be driver, but there to monitor the driverless vehicle - the article says so and frankly its the logical thing to do. I m not even a particular fan of driverless vehicles, but really, what a stupid post XXXX, nothing to do today ??

8 November 2017

There's lots of reasons least not financial. But if you think it'll change our world more than any other advancement in the next 30 years fine.  

 

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