Waymo announces it is ready to launch driverless robotaxis in San Francisco

Just six months after expanding to San Francisco, Alphabet’s Waymo says they are ready to remove their safety drivers and provide a fully autonomous robotaxi service in the Golden City.

In a blog post on their website, Waymo says they have given hundreds of robotaxi rides in the past six months to residents who have volunteered to help test the Waymo One service.

Through that testing they have been able to improve a number of driving behaviours to better handle San Francisco’s hilly landscape.

Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana says the achievement is a significant milestone, but did not provide a timeline for when they might officially launch their driverless services.

“…we’re now ready to begin introducing the Waymo Driver in fully autonomous mode—with no specialist behind the wheel—in the city as a major step on our path to deploying a fully autonomous commercial service. We’ve made this decision after carefully benchmarking the Waymo Driver’s performance against our safety evaluation methodologies,” Mawakana said.

Both Waymo and its competitor Cruise have already received permits from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allowing them to collect fares from riders when there is a safety driver present.

They still need an additional permit to do so without a human behind the wheel.

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