Listen to this article
Waymo announced today that its starting completely driverless testing in Los Angeles, making it the third city to see completely driverless Waymo vehicles.
Following a rigorous cycle of validation and safety readiness evaluation, @Waymo is starting fully-autonomous (no human driver) testing in LA. Thrilled by the data confirming, once again, how well our ML-based 5th-gen Driver generalizes across cities! pic.twitter.com/hd0XU5zecT
— Dmitri Dolgov (@dmitri_dolgov) February 27, 2023
Waymo announced in October that LA would be its next ride-hailing city, after rolling out its services in San Francisco, Phoenix and the Phoenix suburbs.
In Downtown Phoenix, Waymo more than doubled its rider-only service area. The company began offering rider-only rides to Trusted Testers in Downtown Phoenix in August 2022. It also started giving rides between Downtown Phoenix and the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
In San Francisco, Waymo can now offer fully autonomous rides in a large portion of the city, including every neighborhood along the 17-mile Crosstown Trail. Waymo has been offering rides in the city since August 2021 and began offering fully autonomous rides in March 2022.
Waymo began as Google’s self-driving car project in 2009. It has more than 700 vehicles in its fleet, comprising a mix of Jaguar I-PACE EVs, Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivans and Class 8 trucks.
The company faces competition in San Francisco and Phoenix from Cruise, the self-driving unit of GM. Cruise announced in December that it would be expanding its service area in the city to cover most of San Francisco.
Cruise also recently reached one million driverless miles, with a majority of those miles driven in San Francisco.
Cruise has also recently started testing its purpose-built Origin vehicle on public roads in San Francisco. Origin is a fully autonomous vehicle (AV) with no front seat or steering wheel, designed specifically for giving autonomous taxi rides.
In LA, Waymo joins Motional, another autonomous driving company, in its AV testing. Motional is working with Lyft to roll out its service in the city, which will be carried out using Motional’s all-electric IONIQ 5-based robotaxis.