Waymo Receives Driverless Permit for L.A., Cruise Starts First Driverless Rides in Austin

It feels like not a day goes by that Waymo, Cruise or another robotaxi company doesn’t announce the launch of driverless rider in yet another new city.

The first videos of riders using a driverless Cruise in Austin are surfacing. In San Francisco, the company has been using driverless for some time, as well as recently in Phoenix.

Waymo, on the other hand, which has been running driverless in Chandler and Phoenix in Arizona for years, received approval for San Francisco a few days ago, where they have also expanded their hours of operation and service area. And now, fresh off the presses, the news reaches us that Waymo is now allowed to operate driverless in Los Angeles as well.

If it continues at this pace, we’ll have at least 10 robotaxi fleets operating in the U.S. by the end of 2023, and between 25 and 50 by 2025. My picks for the next cities include Las Vegas, New York, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., Miami, San Diego. Not only will the service likely be expanded to more cities, but airports and suburbs of those cities as well.

The companies that will serve these cities with robotaxis alongside Waymo and Cruise? I see Zoox, AutoX and Aurora in particular.

When will it be Europe’s turn? One of these companies will, to my best estimate, make the leap over the ocean between 2023 and 2025 and start mapping and testing a first city or region with their robotaxis and possibly let a limited public use this service. What do you think?

This article was also posted in German.

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