The self-driving concern of Google’s parent company today announced the launch of its self-driving taxi service. It was reported that Waymo was looking to launch the service before the end of this year. That’s precisely what the company has done today with the launch of Waymo One. The commercial service will initially be available in the Phoenix area.
Waymo isn’t opening it up for everyone just yet, though. The service and its app will roll out on an invite-only basis to Phoenix residents who were part of Waymo’s early rider program. This vetted group of people will be able to use the app to hail a self-driving taxi. The early rider program will also continue even as some members move over to Waymo One.
One major difference between Waymo One and the early rider program is that those who graduate to the former will now be able to share their views about the service publicly. That’s not something the early rider program allows members to do. Those who get in on Waymo One will also be able to bring a friend or family member along even if they weren’t a part of the program.
Even though Waymo has been testing self-driving cars without safety drivers behind the wheel, all of the cars in the Waymo One fleet will have safety drivers to supervise the vehicles. Waymo One will be opened up to more members of the public as the company adds more vehicles and expands the coverage area.
Waymo One will be available starting in Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will gradually be expanded to more neighborhoods in the greater Phoenix area.