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Waymo One, the fully autonomous driving ride hailing service, announced today that users in the Phoenix AZ area can now see Waymo One as an option when planning a trip in Google Maps. Until now, the service was only available via the Waymo app.
This announcement should make the service more accessible to a broader range of users. However, according to the company, the initial integration with Google Maps will only be on Android devices. So iPhone users will have to wait. In addition, users can’t completely book a ride in Google Maps, and need to have the Waymo ride hailing app installed to complete the ride booking and pay for the ride service. This integration makes perfect sense from a roadmap perspective, given that Google Maps and Waymo share the same parent company (Alphabet).
This announcement brings attention to the Waymo service availability to new users who are looking to hail a ride within the current service area. Users need to select the “transport” option (or icon) in Google Maps to see the option. In addition to seeing public transportation options and other (human driver based) ride hailing service such as Lyft, users in the Phoenix area will see Waymo One as an option to complete the ride.
Note that The Robot Report Podcast featured an interview with blogger JJRicks about a recent incident that he experienced while riding in a Waymo One driven vehicle.
Waymo is cautiously expanding the Waymo One service as they work through all of the various issues in operating a driver-less ride hailing service. While the vehicles themselves do not have a physical driver, Waymo does maintain a crew of vehicle “wranglers” who supervise the field operations and are available to quickly rescue a stranded passenger if something goes wrong during a ride. Waymo is looking to expand the service to other markets, including San Francisco, CA in the near future.
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