Self-Driving Taxis Are Now Running In San Francisco

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But they're not for everyone.

Along with the rise of EVs, another new technology is beginning to enter the mainstream. Fully autonomous vehicles are extremely complicated and expensive to develop, but companies like GM's Cruise and Waymo believe it's worth it. They're keeping their eye on the prize, which is being the first to successfully launch Level 5 autonomous tech.

Earlier this summer, we reported that both companies began offering driverless rides and deliveries around the city of San Francisco following permit approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. And now Waymo has officially begun giving rides to passengers. However, it's limited to so-called "Trusted Testers" for the time being.

Waymo
Waymo

To become one of these testers, city residents have to sign up for the program and, if approved, are asked to download the Waymo One app to their smartphones. This will give them access to the fleet of Jaguar I-Pace all-electric test vehicles fitted with the necessary self-driving hardware and software.

Waymo says this is a "research-focused program" intending to give it direct feedback from the common folk. Testers with disabilities are welcomed to take part because some vehicles have wheelchair accessibility. It offered its own employees autonomous rides throughout the city earlier this year, but now it's time to open things up.

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Waymo
Waymo

"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," the company said in a press release.

And in case you're wondering, there will still be a safety driver behind the wheel, for now, despite the wording on the app in the picture. Along with San Francisco, Phoenix, Arizona is also serving as a test city for the company, but this new program is not available there at this time. Waymo didn't give any indication when (or if) it will be.

Waymo
Waymo
Waymo
Waymo

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