Retail

Waymo Experiments With Wireless Internet In Robotaxis

Waymo Experiments With Wireless Internet

After rolling out ad-free music streaming for riders, Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo is reportedly experimenting with ad-free wireless internet in its greater Phoenix robotaxis. Paying passengers have been transported in hundreds of “driverless” minivans since the end of last year, according to Reuters.

The wireless internet is said to be available to a portion of users, who can pilot features but cannot publicly discuss their experience. Two unnamed riders noted they first saw laminated fliers with instructions for wireless internet in April. However, the report noted, time will tell whether the internet proves to be a large draw, since passengers can use their smartphones to go online.

Even so, Waymo users note that the wireless internet would allow them to stream videos or work on their notebook computers during longer-distance trips. The firm did not provide details on when the testing started, and did not specify its providers or internet speeds. However, Waymo did note that its network does not have usage restrictions.

Beyond the wireless internet, the company has brought other non-tech benefits to riders. It has placed a child car seat in each vehicle and makes sure that vehicles are kept at 72 degrees. The report also pointed out that human drivers are in each Waymo vehicle in the event of an emergency.

In separate Waymo news, the company’s self-driving trucks are returning to Arizona, per reports in May. Its self-driving, Class 8, big-rig trucks hadn’t been in the state for more than a year, although they were first piloted in August 2017 in Arizona. The firm was ready to roll out a more advanced stage of testing in the program’s development, it was noted at the time.

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