Bloomberg reports that Google-sister Waymo, which is developing self-driving cars, is going to launch officially in December the robotaxi service in Phoenix in Arizona. This is also going to be under a new brand.
Since Waymo is not just working on a robotaxi service, but also on self-driving trucks, Waymo may become the holding company which has multiple brands under its hood.
A number of the current test passengers – the so-called Early Riders – will become customers paying for the new service, while others remain test passengers testing new features and giving feedback. In total the number of test families were around 400, which had to sign an NDA and were not allowed to take friends or other family in the car, of make recordings in the car. With the official launch this is supposed to change, although the number of passengers will still be limited for the time being.
The robotaxi service will cover an area of 259 square kilometers in the Phoenix area. To compare that with Stuttgart, which has 207 square kilometers. The Waymo depot in Phoenix, where the Waymo cars are parked and maintained, has more than 6,500 square meters of space. Every week new cars are added to the several hundred.
In some of the robotaxis still safety drivers are expected to be present. The vehicles themselves are expected to drive 99.9 percent in autonomous mode. The fare amount is still unknown.
We already suspected that Waymo had a soft-launch. An official announcement will come in the next days, even if there won’t be a large event for that.
This article was also published in German.