Waymo just announced its plans to deploy vehicles without backup safety drivers, making a major milestone in a sector that has witnessed many ups and downs and stops and starts. The company, the self-driving unit of Google's parent Alphabet, said it will soon expand its driverless ride-hailing service to include the general public in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Beginning today, October 8, we're excited to open up our fully driverless offering to Waymo One riders. Members of the public service can now take friends and family along on their rides and share their experience with the world," the company said in a blog post.
For now, Waymo's service will still be limited to Phoenix, but the company hopes for that to change in the future. Waymo, and other autonomous vehicle developers, chose Arizona for testing due to an apparent lack of restrictions and regulatory hurdles.
Still, offering rides to all customers is a huge advantage over its competitors. Being first always helps with reputation - and revenue. Waymo's competitors are still in the testing phase.
The company's CEO John Krafcik said in a statement that Waymo is looking for the opportunity to bring its driverless services to the company's home state of California next.
Waymo started its driverless car development in 2017.