Alphabet’s Waymo has become the first company to launch fully autonomous vehicles on public roads without a driver behind the wheel. About 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacific minivans are driving around Phoenix, Arizona without a human driver which puts Waymo ahead of other rivals such as Uber, Lyft, Apple, General Motors, and Delphi. Prior to that, the company just started testing these cars on the roads last year but with a driver behind the wheel. Now, these minivans are only allowed to drive in a specific geographic area that will eventually expand to cover a large portion of Phoenix, about 600 miles.
“We’re now working on making this commercial service available to the public,” Waymo CEO John Krafick said. “People will get to use our fleet of on-demand vehicles, to do anything from commute to work, get home from a night out, or run errands.”
Waymo is working to make this service available to the public and not just Google employees. The company also launched their early rider program in April and formed an alliance with another ride hailing company, Lyft, investing $1 billion. Waymo has then issued a safety report outlining how they plan to navigate the risks of self driving vehicles and revealed more about their technology.