Waymo, the self-driving division of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has long been working on self-driving cars with the aim of launching a taxi service that relies entirely on cars that can drive themselves. According to a new report, Waymo could be launching its driverless taxi service as soon as next month.
Bloomberg reports that Waymo is looking to launch its commercial driverless taxi service by early December. The unnamed source who spoke to the scribe mentions that it’s going to be a soft launch initially. Waymo may introduce a consumer taxi brand as the service itself isn’t expected to be named after the company.
The soft launch will reportedly take place in Phoenix, Arizona. Waymo is already operating a fleet of modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans there as part of its testing regime on public roads.
Some cars in the commercial service’s fleet will reportedly have backup drivers to take over from the computers if the need arises. Since the commercial taxi service will be carrying passengers, it will charge them straight-forward fares which will reportedly be competitive to other ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
The availability of this service may further be restricted to Waymo’s Early Rider Program which has around 400 users. They will no longer bound by an NDA so the early riders will be able to talk about the service. Waymo may limit the service to the same 100 square mile area where it’s testing the autonomous cars already.