Waymo plans to launch the world’s first commercial driverless car service by December. What first began at Google, was rebranded in 2016 and brought directly under the parent company, Alphabet. Waymo already is on road for a small group of 400 families in the Phoenix area and is now expanding with a license in California. They plan to continue expanding, getting licenses in areas as they do.
End of last month Waymo acquired a license from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to run driverless cars on public roads. Businesses are expected to be the main customers.
Waymo gets a permit from California DMV
The permit will allow Waymo to drive in both day and night with a speed limit of 65 mph. They state in a blog post: “Our vehicles can safely handle fog and light rain,”. The company has collected data by driving millions of miles through years of driving to train the artificial intelligence system in use. When faced with a situation it does not understand, a self-driving car will wait to understand how to proceed. They also have fleet and rider support with humans to solve any issues that the self-driving car cannot.
Waymo has deals with companies like Fiat and Jaguar to make thousands of vehicles driverless.
Waymo systems drove millions and billions of miles
Other than the 10 million real miles, the Waymo system was also subject to 7 billion simulated miles to make the self-driving tech an experienced driver. There will also be backup drivers in some cars to take over if necessary so that the riders are at ease of mind.
John Krafcik, Waymo CEO said to The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, that this service will be available for customers as well as businesses. What is surprising is that companies like Walmart, Avis Budget Group Inc., and AutoNation Inc. are also interested in this service and are willing to pay for their customers’ rides.
For more details, read the Waymo blog post.