"Waymo is reportedly planning to take the next step towards offering a commercial driverless car service in early December."

Google confident to launch self-driving taxi in December


Wed, Nov 14th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to The Verge, Google's subsidiary Waymo is feeling confident enough in having its self driving taxis ready to collect fares without any drivers— at least in some of them. Some vehicles will offer a backup driver, while others will have the option for a remote operator to connect if things do not work out. More info here.

Offering paid rides is a big milestone for the service, but this is otherwise an incremental step. Initially, Bloomberg speculates that availability will be restricted to Waymo’s existing 400-person “Early Rider Program” — although they’ll no longer be bound by a secretive NDA. The location is also not set to change from the same 100 square mile area around Phoenix already used for testing. Finally, although many of the autonomous taxis will not have backup drivers, this has already been a feature of Waymo’s tests since October 2017 (humans in remote operations centers are available to step in when things get complicated). Over time, availability and coverage areas are likely to increase, but at launch there’s not much about the service that’s expected to change.



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