After expanding outside of Arizona to San Francisco earlier this year, Waymo has announced another expansion with plans to roll out its robotaxi service to Los Angeles over the coming months.
According to a blog post on Waymo’s website, the robotaxi service will offer “round-the-clock service” to all residents of LA in several central districts. The company has been mapping roads in many LA neighbourhoods since 2019, including Downtown and Miracle Mile, Koreatown, Santa Monica, Westwood and West Hollywood.
The initial launch will see more than a dozen Waymo vehicles roaming the streets of LA, with plans to expand their fleet from there to take advantage of what it calls “one of the largest ride-hailing service areas in the world and the third largest in the U.S.”
The company is also excited about testing their self-driving technology in the nightmare that can be LA traffic.
“When we think about our next cities, Los Angeles jumps out. LA is a remarkable, vibrant place – and Waymo’s experience leaves us best positioned to tackle its driving complexity,” said Waymo’s co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana.
As with their launch in San Francisco, Waymo will start with human safety drivers behind the wheel to take over control of the vehicle as necessary.
The service will also only be available to employees at first as the company tests their software on LA streets, before later expanding to the general public once it is confident in its capabilities.
Before that happens though, Waymo will also need to obtain a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to operate without a safety driver behind the wheel.