Waymo, Google's self-driving car offshoot company, is one of the first to start testing fully autonomous, driver-less cars on public roadways in the U.S.
A new video has been released by the company, of its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica vans driving passengers around the Pheonix area without a driver at the wheel. Free rides have been offered to Phoenix area residents in the test cars for approximately a year now, but during the initial test period, a Waymo employee was constantly in the driver’s seat, just in case anything went wrong.
Finally, the rides are now being conducted without a driver up front, though an employee is still onboard in the back seat ready to take over, by pushing a “pull over” button in case of emergency.
Users of the Waymo early rider program, which has been in place over the past year, will soon be able to order a fully self-driving Pacifica through a smartphone app, and eventually, the company is promising to introduce a driver-less taxi service to the Phoenix general population, with goals of expanding outside of Arizona.