A Waymo self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Photo: Waymo

As it prepares to make its fully driverless cars (without a safety driver in the front seat) available for rides to the public this year, Waymo says it has ordered thousands of additional Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

Why it matters: The self-driving car race continues at full speed. General Motors' Cruise recently said it will deploy its cars to the public in 2019, while ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft have been testing rides with passengers on smaller scales.

  • The fully driverless car rides will first be publicly available in Phoenix, and later in more cities. Waymo began testing its driverless cars there in November.
  • So far, Fiat Chrysler has provided Waymo with 600 such cars.

Go deeper: Axios took a ride in one of Waymo's self-driving minivans at its secret testing facility.

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Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.