Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

By year's end, anyone in metro Phoenix (not just a handful of early participants) will be able to summon an autonomous vehicle from Waymo using an app on their phone. The nation’s first commercial robo-taxi service will be limited to certain areas, but the territory will gradually expand as the cars get even smarter with experience.

Why it matters: Waymo is by far the leader in autonomous vehicle technology, racking up 10 million miles of real-world driving and 5 billion simulated miles. But it’s still up to the public to decide if they want self-driving cars. Waymo’s robo-taxi service will be an early test of that question.

What we’re watching: It’s unlikely we’ll see any movement on federal legislation around AVs this year, unless Congress decides to tackle it during a lame duck session after the November election, which means companies will continue to focus their development efforts in states with the most favorable laws.

Go deeper with Axios Future Trends:

Sign up for my weekly newsletter on autonomous vehicles here.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court clears way for first federal execution since 2003

Lethal injection facility in San Quentin, California. Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled early Tuesday that federal executions can resume, reversing a lower court decision and paving the way for the first lethal injection since 2003 to take place at a federal prison in Indiana, AP reports.

The big picture: A lower court had delayed the execution, saying inmates had provided evidence the government's plan to carry out executions using lethal injections "poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain."

2 hours ago - Health

More Republicans say they're wearing masks

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

Buildings are getting tested for coronavirus, too

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Testing buildings — not just people — could be an important way to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: People won't feel safe returning to schools, offices, bars and restaurants unless they can be assured they won't be infected by coronavirus particles lingering in the air — or being pumped through the buildings' air ducts. One day, even office furniture lined with plants could be used to clean air in cubicles.