Waymo welcomes first passengers in San Francisco

Google’s self-driving car division Waymo has announced it is starting a driverless car service in San Francisco called the Waymo One Trusted Tester Programme.

It says Trusted Tester is a research-focused programme that, for the first time, will invite San Franciscans to actively help it shape the future of fully autonomous ride-hailing.

“We’ve been driving in the city for over twelve years, have accumulated more autonomous driving miles in California than anyone in the industry, and began ramping up our testing by offering autonomous rides to our employees in San Francisco earlier this year,” a blog post reads. “Now, for the first time, San Franciscans will be able to hail an autonomous ride in one of our all-electric Jaguar I-PACE vehicles equipped with the fifth-generation Waymo Driver.”

It says that while this is a first for San Francisco, it is a “familiar step for Waymo”, explaining that pver the past four years in Phoenix, Arizona, its gone from welcoming our first riders in 2017 with an autonomous specialist on board to launching the first public, fully autonomous ride hailing service. It says that since October 2020, its served tens of thousands of fully autonomous rides, and through years of experience, have refined an incremental approach guided by its safety framework and rider feedback.

“Our San Francisco Trusted Testers can hail autonomous rides for their everyday needs anywhere they want to go in our initial service area, whether it’s their favourite bakery in the Sunset, or a special picnic spot in Golden Gate park,” the blog post reads. “All rides in the programme will have an autonomous specialist on board for now, and our Trusted Testers will also share feedback with us on their ride experience.

“From using the Waymo One app, to pickup and drop-offs, to the ride itself, we receive valuable feedback from our riders that allows us to refine our product offering as we advance our service. We kicked off this program last week with a select few and are now expanding the program to all interested San Franciscans. We’ll begin with an initial group and welcome more riders in the weeks to come.”

(Picture – Waymo)

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