Waymo’s robotaxis now hailable by anyone in San Francisco

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Waymo, the autonomous vehicle technology company, has announced that its robotaxi service is now available to the general public across San Francisco.

Waymo One, the company’s ride-hailing service, has opened its doors to anyone in San Francisco after years of careful scaling and testing. The service operates 24/7 throughout the city, offering rides in fully autonomous, all-electric vehicles.

The expansion comes after Waymo has successfully provided tens of thousands of weekly trips in San Francisco. The company reports that nearly 300,000 people have signed up to ride with Waymo since the initial waitlist opened – representing more than a quarter of the city’s population.

Waymo’s impact on local transportation has been notable. According to the company, about 30% of Waymo rides in San Francisco are to local businesses, potentially boosting the local economy. The service has also become integral to daily life for many residents, with over half of surveyed riders using Waymo for medical appointments in recent months.

The autonomous taxis are not just serving residents but are also becoming a unique attraction for tourists. Thousands of visitors have used Waymo vehicles to explore San Francisco’s landmarks, from the Presidio to the Ferry Building.

Safety remains at the forefront of Waymo’s operations. The company cites its track record of over 20 million rider-only miles and nearly two million paid rider-only public trips. Waymo claims that its autonomous system, the Waymo Driver, avoids high-severity collisions better than even the most attentive human drivers.

Patricia Rillera, California State Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), expressed support for the technology, stating, “MADD proudly collaborates with autonomous vehicle leaders like Waymo, recognising their potential to prevent tragedies caused by impaired, distracted, and drowsy driving.”

Environmental benefits are also highlighted, with Waymo reporting that its rides have helped curb carbon emissions by an estimated 570,000 kg since the beginning of commercial operations in August 2023. The company’s fleet is powered by 100% renewable energy from San Francisco’s CleanPowerSF program.

Inclusivity is another focus for Waymo, with the service supporting Spanish and Chinese languages through its app and in-car features. This multilingual approach aims to serve a diverse group of local riders and visitors alike.

As Waymo opens its service to the public, it emphasises a commitment to responsible growth. The company states it will continue to work closely with city and state officials, first responders, and road safety advocates to ensure the service positively impacts mobility in San Francisco.

(Image Credit: Waymo)

See also: ARX raises €9M to fill NATO’s robotics gap

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