It’s taken some time, but the Waymo team has finally been given the approval needed to use some of the vehicles they have without a driver behind the wheel.
For nearly a decade, Google has been working on creating autonomous vehicles that could be used for a ride-hailing program. Eventually, this part of the business had to be separated from Google and became the Alphabet Waymo self-driving taxi program. When this change occurred, the team employed a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans to be the vehicles that would offer the ride needed.
The Previous News of these Chrysler Minivans
During the testing phase of the Pacifica minivans used by Waymo, passengers were offered the ride without having to pay for the privilege and these vehicles had drivers behind the wheel most of the time. Now that the team has been given the approval to allow these vehicles to operate without a driver in the seat at all, which means that a small area of the country will have these vehicles on the road without a driver behind the wheel at all, making the first time we have an actual fleet of autonomous vehicles on the road.
Its Time to Recoup the Investment
The area where the driverless models of the Pacifica minivan will be riding on the roads is in a roughly 100-mile zone in four of the Phoenix suburbs. These suburbs are Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert. Incidentally, this area is where the company has been testing its technology since 2016. Now, the ride won’t be free. Those who want a ride will have to pay for the ride at a rate that’s comparable to both Lyft and Uber in the area. It’s time for Waymo to begin to capture their investment.
Use the App and Take a Ride
Those who want to make use of the Waymo service for their ride on the roads will have to download the app and add a credit card. This is similar to the other ride-hailing services offered by Lyft and Uber to make it possible for you to have the ride you want to take wherever you need to go. For now, there will still be a safety driver in the front seat to take over if the vehicle happens to fail. This is the only purpose of this person at this time, and the minivan will take you where you need to go using the software that’s included.
What’s Next for Waymo?
We can expect the Waymo team to continue to expand the area that’s covered by the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans as they continue to prove the technology offered is sufficient to make this possible. Look for Waymo to come to your area in the near future to give you a fleet of models that will let you enjoy the ability to hail a ride in a vehicle that no longer needs a driver to get the job done.