Waymo offering free driverless rides in Los Angeles

Google’s driverless car sister company, Waymo, has announced it is expanding its driverless operation, with rides starting in an area of Los Angeles.

It will begin its expansion by offering rides in a 63 square mile area from Santa Monica to Downtown LA, scaling operations over time.

These initial rides will be free, and with a recent California Public Utilities Commission approval, it will transition to paid service in the coming weeks.

Waymo says it will permanently welcome riders into its service, “gradually onboarding the more than 50,000 people on our LA waitlist and continuing to hand out temporary codes at local events throughout the city”.

In a blog post it announces: “We’ve put the Waymo Driver through over a year of careful, deliberate evaluation in Los Angeles since we first announced it as our third ride-hailing city. Last October, we invited a broad cross section of Angelenos to experience the Driver for themselves during our Waymo One Tour. Angelenos have taken over 15,000 fully autonomous rides with the Waymo Driver over the past five months, across Santa Monica, Century City, WeHo, Mid City, K-Town and Downtown LA.”

It also says it is currently testing fully autonomous rides across 43 square miles of Austin, Texas, encompassing the heart of downtown, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin, Hyde Park and more. It explains at this stage of testing, it’s providing rides to Waymo employees before opening Waymo One to members of the public later this year.

(Picture – Waymo)


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