LA residents will soon be able to rideshare driverless.
Waymo, which uses cars like the Jaguar I-Pace and Chrysler Pacifica for its autonomous vehicle fleet, has announced that it's off to LA. Waymo plans to use the city as a test bed for its autonomous taxi service and hopes that its 12 million residents will prove an excellent field test for the brand's product. To put LA residents' minds at ease, Waymo is confident its cars are better than humans.
Waymo already operates its ride-hailing service out of both Phoenix and San Francisco.
In the video below, the brand says that LA will have "round-the-clock service that provides more accessible and dependable mobility options to all residents."
LA is a natural choice for the brand, as it says the metro area surrounding the massive city is the third largest ride-hailing service user in the United States. Obviously, this means it faces stiff competition from brands still using human drivers, like Uber and Lyft.
Still, Waymo sees profit in LA, stating the $2 billion market opportunity is the "equivalent of a dozen smaller US ride-hailing market opportunities combined."
"If we want to change the car culture in Los Angeles, we need to give Angelenos real alternatives to owning their own vehicle - including a world-class public transportation network, a range of active transportation options, and the convenience of mobility as a service across our City," said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
LA will be a challenging market for Waymo, which says it is well-prepared for the task. LA has a unique driving culture. At any given time, the speed limit on the city's freeways is anywhere from 10-15 mph higher than posted. On top of that, heavy congestion will create a challenging environment for the cars.
Still, Waymo has already driven thousands of miles on LA's highways, side streets, and neighborhoods. While this wasn't more than an announcement for Waymo's debut in LA, we imagine we'll hear more from the company as it puts down roots in the city.