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Waymo One launched as commercial self-driving service

2018-12-05 17:16 by
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Alphabet's self-driving car unit Waymo today announced that it is officially "launching" a robo-taxi service in Chandler, Arizona, wherein riders will use an app to hail the vehicles to take them anywhere in an 80 to 100 square mile area, for a price.

Waymo has pre-selected recommended pickup and drop-off locations throughout the service territory. Waymo vehicles prefer to drop customers off in these locations, which means that customers may need to take a short walk at the start and end of a trip. But Waymo says that—as with Uber or Lyft—customers will have the option to override these suggestions and request pickup or dropoff in another location. Fares are based on time and distance, and customers can expect fares to be roughly on par with what you'd pay for an Uber or Lyft trip—perhaps even a bit lower.

Waymo One, as the program is called, will first be offered to people in the company's early-rider program, in which more than 400 Phoenix-area residents have signed up since last year to help test-drive driverless cars in their neighborhoods, Waymo said Wednesday, adding that some of those volunteers have already ridden in fully driverless cars.

"Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public as we add vehicles and drive in more places," Krafcik said Wednesday, without specifying a timeframe or additional locations. "Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind."

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