Waymo's driverless taxis open to the public in Phoenix suburbs
After two years of tightly controlled operation in Chandler, Ariz., Waymo is opening up its driverless taxi service to the public.
Why it matters: This is a big deal — a real driverless taxi service, with no one in the driver's seat — that is open to anyone who downloads the Waymo One app.
- Service had been suspended back in March because of the coronavirus.
The catch: You can only ride within a 50-mile radius of Chandler, a suburb southeast of Phoenix, and existing customers get first dibs.
- "We'll start with those who are already a part of Waymo One and, over the next several weeks, welcome more people directly into the service through our app," CEO John Krafcik wrote in a blog post Thursday.
- Rides in other parts of the city will restart in a few weeks, with human backup drivers and barriers separating them from passengers.
- That will allow Waymo to keep expanding its service area, Krafcik said.
One note about hygiene: Driverless taxis will be cleaned frequently by Waymo's service partner, AutoNation, and will be equipped with disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and an upgraded air-purification system, Krafcik said.