It seems like these days, the market is flooded with ride-hailing apps, each promising better service and lower rates than the next. From Uber to Lyft to Gett, there’s no shortage of taxi-alternatives for tech-savvy Americans. Now a new company throws its hat into the ring, and it’s one that most people are familiar with. Alphabet – Google’s parent company – has launched its own service, Waymo. The app could save you lots of time, but don’t expect any witty banter with your driver – the Waymo fleet is almost entirely self-driving cars.
Officially called “Waymo One,” the autonomous taxis are now on the roads of Phoenix for a beta test. So far users are reporting good service with no major mistakes or accidents. But for now, not everyone is able to get on board, only Phoenix residents who have already been using Waymo can request a self-driving car. And for the first few months of the program, there will still be a driver behind the wheel to ensure passenger safety.
The broader Waymo program launched last year in Phoenix and has around 400 users. The new Waymo One service will be available around the clock and works in a similar way to other ride-sharing apps: you input your destination, the app tells you the fare, and contacts nearby cars for availability. While the beta test continues, Waymo is encouraging customers to bring their friends along for the ride, to help expose more of the general public to self-driving cars.
The program should also be expanding soon as well. Back in October, Waymo was given permission to begin testing driverless cars in California. So if you live in the Golden State, the next cab you hail may not have a driver!
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