Waymo testing self-driving cars on Phoenix-area streets

By Danielle Haynes  |  Nov. 7, 2017 at 4:05 PM
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Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Waymo, Google's self-driving car company, announced Tuesday it is test-driving its vehicles on Phoenix streets and soon will be looking for passengers to use its ride-hailing service.

CEO John Krafcik said that until this week, Waymo vehicles had been operating on public roads with a test driver at the wheel.

"Now, in an area of the Phoenix metro region, a subset of our fleet will operate in fully autonomous mode, with Waymo as the sole driver," the company said in a post on Medium. "Over time, we'll cover a region that's larger than the size of Greater London, and we'll add more vehicles as we grow."

The company said that in eight years of testing, Waymo vehicles have driven more than 3.5 miles autonomously in 20 U.S. cities. They've also tested some 20,000 scenarios on the company's private test track.

We've multiplied all this real world experience in simulation, where our software drives more than 10 million miles every day," the post added. "Finally, all our vehicles are equipped with the unique safety features necessary for full autonomy, including backup steering, braking, computer and power that are capable of bringing the vehicle to a safe stop, if needed."

Going forward, he said the company would be calling on people to participate in its early rider program to use the vehicles to commute to work and school, or return home after a night out.

In 2016, Google announced it was splitting its self-driving vehicle unit off into the separate, independent Waymo. The company has partnered with ride-sharing company Lyft and rental car company Avis to develop and test the technology.

Earlier this year, Waymo unveiled its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica at the Detroit International Auto Show.

Topics: Google
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