Waymo to extend robotaxi service in San Francicso

·1-min read
Waymo driverless Chrysler Pacifica on the road

Waymo said Tuesday it would expand its robotaxi service to riders in San Francisco in another step toward fully autonomous ride-hailing.

The unit of Google parent Alphabet said it would allow "trusted testers" in San Francisco to hail rides in self-driving cars with an "autonomous specialist" on board for backup.

"Our San Francisco Trusted Testers can hail autonomous rides for their everyday needs anywhere they want to go in our initial service area, whether it's their favorite bakery in the Sunset, or a special picnic spot in Golden Gate park," Waymo said in a blog post.

"We kicked off this program last week with a select few and are now expanding the program to all interested San Franciscans. We'll begin with an initial group and welcome more riders in the weeks to come."

The move expands the Waymo ride-hailing program which has been operating in Phoenix, Arizona since 2017 as rivals work to launch similar operations.

The former Google Car unit has been moving ahead of most rivals and has raised billions of dollars in anticipation of a wider launch.

The San Francisco project will use the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE vehicles equipped with the fifth-generation Waymo Driver software.

"While this is a first for San Francisco, it is a familiar step for Waymo," the blog post said.

"Since October 2020, we've served tens of thousands of fully autonomous rides, and through our years of experience, have refined our incremental approach guided by our safety framework and rider feedback."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting