Waymo, the self-driving company founded by Alphabet, announced on Wednesday (Dec. 5) the launch of Waymo One, its self-driving service.
In a blog post, Waymo Chief Executive John Krafcik said the company will first offer the service to hundreds of early riders who have been using the technology. Over time, the company aims to make the service available to more members of the public as it adds more vehicles and drives in more places.
“Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind. At first, Waymo-trained drivers will supervise our Waymo One vehicles,” the CEO said in the blog post. “We’re never done learning, and our early rider program will continue as a way for a select group to give us ongoing insights. They’ll help test early features before those new capabilities graduate to Waymo One.” Krafcik noted that Waymo had already offered fully driverless rides to some of its early riders.
In late October, Waymo announced it was awarded the first permit in California to begin driverless testing on public roads in parts of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto. The company noted that Mountain View, which also happens to be Waymo’s headquarters, is home to more than a dozen autonomous vehicle companies. At the time, the driverless rides were only for members of the Waymo team, but the company said it had plans to open it up to the public in the future.
“Fully driverless testing is the latest step in the path Waymo has been on since 2009, when we first began working on self-driving technology at Google," the company wrote in a blog post. "Since then, we’ve driven over 10 million autonomous miles on public roads across 25 cities. California will join our driverless testing program that’s already been happening in Phoenix, Arizona since last year.”