Waymo, which recently became a company under the umbrella of Alphabet, is expanding its ride-hailing app in Phoenix and making it available on the Google Play store, according to a report in TechCrunch.
The company launched its robotaxi service Waymo One in the area in December. It’s a self-driving car service that was that was previously only available to participants of the early rider program, with the intention of vetting people who were going to use the service.
Previously, people who wanted to participate had to apply on the company’s website, and would then be sent a link to download the app.
The early rider program began in April of 2017, and had at least 400 participants. Waymo won’t share user numbers for the public service, but did say it was in the hundreds.
The new self-driving service will have limitations. Even though users can download the app, that doesn’t mean they’ll be automatically accepted into the program. Potential customers will be added to a waitlist, and then be able to ask for rides once they’re accepted. First, they’ll be invited to use the early rider program.
The main distinction with that is they’ll have to sign non-disclosure agreements and won’t be able to invite guests.
Once those riders are moved into the public service, however, they’ll be able to invite guests, take photos and videos and share their experience with the service.
“These two offerings are deeply connected, as learnings from our early rider program help shape the experience we ultimately provide to our public riders,” Waymo said in a blog post Tuesday (April 16).
Waymo has been working toward the goal of a driverless ride-hailing service since 2016, when it started testing autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans in suburbs. The early rider program was launched the following year, along with testing on more public streets.