Following the first autonomous ride on public roads back in 2015, when Steve Mahan, the retired director of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, jumped into the ‘Firefly’ in Texas, Waymo has decided to open its driverless service to the public.
Since Mahan, Waymo has been testing its autonomous cars in the US with specialists behind the wheel, developing the systems to make them as efficient and fail-safe as possible.
For example, the company began its early ride program for the Metro Pheonix area in 2017, using full-sized hybrid Chrysler Pacifica and taking its autonomous technology to the next level. By this time, Waymo was already testing its fourth-generation driver system, which was far superior to the first Firefly testing vehicle.
Over the last year, Waymo has pioneered fully driverless, paid rides on high-speed roads across a service area larger than the city of San Francisco, just one step away from the real deal.
The Waymo team quickly increased the scope and quantity of its operations, with 5-10% of rides in 2020 being fully driverless for its exclusive group of early riders under NDA.
Now, it has put its learnings together to make autonomous driving a reality, allowing members of the public to access these vehicles through the Waymo app. So book your ride now.