Google Waymo Launching Ride-Hailing App
The Google self-driving vehicle project, Waymo, now owned by Alphabet Inc. (a Google Property), has come a long way. We’ve discussed the Waymo at length, talking about the history and the technology of the Waymo. And after testing in the metro area of Phoenix, Arizona, the Waymo was officially approved as the first U.S. commercial ride-hailing service without human drivers, as Transportation Network Company, by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Shortly following this, the business started to expand and sought out permits in other states across the U.S.
Ride-hailing services have become very common in the last few years, nearly putting taxi drivers out of business if not already. If without a vehicle, or travelling in the city and not looking to rent a car, using a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft is the way to go. Almost everyone on vacation chooses to use one of those services, and now, the Waymo may be the next popular choice.
With an app coming out in December 2018, the people of Phoenix, Arizona can use the app to hail a self-driving, autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan to come and pick them up. Yes, in case you didn’t know, the Google Waymo purchased over 60,000 units of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to expand their self-driving fleet. After getting their first permit, Waymo expanded ride-hailing to businesses around Phoenix, Arizona.
One of the most profitable connects will be with Walmart, allowing consumers to order groceries online and then have a Waymo come pick them up to and from the store. During this time of expansion, Waymo applied for another permit for testing autonomous vehicles in public areas – California. Being one of the most progressive states of the U.S., one would think testing self-driving vehicles in California and starting a business there would be simple, but there are about 50 companies currently testing autonomous cars on California roads today, none of which have been approved for public use or testing – until now.
Ride-Hail a Waymo This Year
According to an anonymous source through Bloomberg, Waymo is planning to launch the world’s first commercial driverless car service in early December 2018. Being launched under a new name, no one is sure yet what to look out for on the Google Play Store to hail a self-driving vehicle. We do know that the fleet is still launching with modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans, and about 100 square-miles in the Phoenix, Arizona area will be the first to test the autonomous ride-hailing service.
At first, the ride-hailing service will come with backup drivers, much like the Early Riders program by the Google Waymo. Going forward, the plan is to introduce driverless car programs in various metropolitan areas in the United States. Recently, the Waymo became the first autonomous vehicle given a permit to test the fleet without a backup driver, and about three dozen test vehicles are driving around Silicon Valley at the moment to meet the same standards. Set up to be the next market for testing the Waymo with another Early Riders program, we’ll quickly see the expansion of Waymo following tests in California and the launch of the app in Phoenix.
Last month, Waymo hit 10 million miles of test driving, having started back in 2009. The automotive market is going to take a sharp turn into artificial intelligence in the coming years. Join the discussion on Aventura Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram social media.