Self-driving taxi, Waymo launches the call in San Francisco: road tests with citizens start

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Waymo goes one step further in bringing self-driving cars to the streets. 12 years after the start of testing its driverless taxis, Alphabet’s self-driving division has announced a new program renamed the “Waymo One Trusted Program”, which will allow a small group of San Francisco citizens to use the cars for free. Electric Jaguar I-Pace equipped with fifth generation Waymo Driver for everyday errands.

On board the cars, initially, there will be an operator in charge of checking that everything is carried out in maximum safety conditions. The goal is to test the self-driving taxi service in everyday life, in a city that has become the front of developments in this field over the years: “We have accumulated more kilometers of self-driving in California than any other company – they stressed. from Waymo – and we started ramping up testing by offering our self-driving cars to our San Francisco employees last year. ”

This is the first experiment of this kind conducted in San Francisco, even if Waymo had already made progress in this direction in Phoenix, where – in a limited area – from 2017 to today he has made several people travel in self-driving cars. autonomous and launched the first fully autonomous public transport service. Now the San Francisco “trusted testers” will be able to request a Waymo taxi through the Waymo One app, and be accompanied where they prefer, providing feedback to the company to further improve the service.

Self-driving taxi, the precedents
Waymo is not alone in accelerating the development of autonomous driving. Last July Ford announced its intention to launch a ride hailing service using a fleet of self-driving cars perfected thanks to Argo Ai and Lyft: the service will be carried out Ford Escape, and will be activated in Miami by the end of the year, followed by Austin in 2022. The project plans to deploy up to 1,000 cars across the entire Lyft network, all with a driver on board ready to take over in an emergency. In this case, however, the autonomous driving level will be 4, and not 5 as in the case of Waymo.

Remaining in California, Waymo himself has to deal with the competition represented by Cruise, a specialized division of GM, which has already asked the DMV for authorization to offer this type of paid service and without taking advantage of the “security” operator.

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