Sci-Fi movies are officially a reality!
The technology behind autonomous driving has been expanding at an insane rate, with companies such as Tesla, and retail giant Amazon getting in on the action, with Volvo also making great strides. We know that cars such as the Tesla Model 3, fitted with the self-driving Autopilot functionality, can handle themselves fairly well on the highway, but when it comes to urban driving, the jury is still out. Waymo, a ride-hailing company that forms part of Google's push for self-driving cars has recently announced that it would be expanding its driverless ride-hailing services to the public, a bold move. The company states that the service will be offered to anyone in Arizona and Phoenix.
Waymo makes use of a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans, and the company says that current riders will be able to bring along friends and family for the ride, while those based in Arizona and Phoenix will be able to download the Waymo app and be placed on a waiting list to use the exciting service. The company is planning a major expansion in the coming weeks. Waymo currently only offers rides within a 50-mile radius of the company headquarters, and its cars travel the same roads every day, learning from each trip successfully made. Expanding within this region will give autonomous vehicles a better chance of success, as the roads and terrain will be more familiar.
CEO of Waymo John Krafcik has stated that the company's entire fleet will become fully driverless in the near future and believes that this will become the most popular way to get around. Waymo's current fleet consists of around 400 vehicles, which could soon prove to be too little to handle the surge in customers after the recent announcement. While the self-driving taxi service will be limited to Arizona and Phoenix, for now, Waymo plans to bring its services to the company's home state of California. With a number of manufacturers vying to make fully autonomous cars a reality, this could be a huge stride forward, if it succeeds.