Waymo launches widescale test of self-driving rides in Phoenix

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Alphabet's autonomous car division, Waymo, is expanding a ridehailing trial in Phoenix, Ariz., to members of the general public, marking perhaps the biggest real-world use of self-driving technology to date.




Area residents can now apply online, Waymo said this week. The company said it expects to enlist "hundreds" of people, and provide transportation to them at any time of day, so long as they stay within the test area -- described as "about twice the size of San Francisco."

Waymo has been quietly engaged in a more limited test in the Phoenix area for about two months. The new effort effectively leapfrogs Uber, which has been doing its own small-scale testing in the ridehailing arena.

In fact Waymo promised to bring trials to additional regions, and along those lines will add another 500 modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its fleet, dwarfing the 100 it currently has on roads.



The company is gradually working its way towards a commercial ridehailing service. Although it's currently dependent on human backups, it could eventually ditch human drivers to offer a fleet circling 24/7, with vehicles only periodically stopping to refuel/recharge, or undergo maintenance.

Apple is developing its own self-driving car platform, but its initial road testing will be limited to just three Lexus SUVs with only Apple staff as passengers. There's no indication that Apple intends to compete directly with Waymo in ridehailing, though Chinese service Didi Chuxing -- in which Apple invested $1 billion last year -- recently opened an autonomous car lab near Apple's headquarters.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Nice Apple Watch ad ;)

    my God this is ugly. Can't wait until Apple takes it out of the market. 
    neo-techwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    Another cheesy video from creepy Google.
    neo-techlordjohnwhorfincaliwatto_cobraMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 3 of 15
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    cali said:
    Nice Apple Watch ad ;)

    my God this is ugly. Can't wait until Apple takes it out of the market. 
    Yes, but are Google even going to sell cars or just be most people's transport. Whereas Apple will want the former probably. But then when people are driven everywhere will they just stop buying cars altogether? For a lot of people, they may.
    lordjohnwhorfin
  • Reply 4 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,904member
    ireland said:
    cali said:
    Nice Apple Watch ad ;)

    my God this is ugly. Can't wait until Apple takes it out of the market. 
    Yes, but are Google even going to sell cars or just be most people's transport. Whereas Apple will want the former probably. But then when people are driven everywhere will they just stop buying cars altogether? For a lot of people, they may.
    Google announced almost two years ago that they had no intention of building consumer cars, and further that ride-sharing was one major focus for them. No interest in building the car itself but instead the platform that makes it possible. 

    FWIW if Apple has intentions of building cars themselves look for the same resistance and push-back the automakers showed Google initially. If only for that reason alone I don't see Apple building cars themselves. 
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 5 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    Very excited about these programs expanding rapidly. The faster the distracted public adopts this, the longer pedestrians and other riders/drivers will live to see another day.
  • Reply 6 of 15
    holyoneholyone Posts: 390member
    This self driving nonsense is starting to sound like 3D TVs, I'm not really sure what Apple really experts to gain by developing self driving technology, this goes against everything they do, Technonology + great design = great user experience, thats Apple, a car you just sit in and say "take me home" cuts out the very best thing that makes Apple products so great, physically interacting with them and using them, things that run with out you even being awere is not a great place for Apple to shine, that's Google's foray, what use is having a beutiful Ferrari that you dont drive but just sit in and play with you're phone, if the point is that every one is going to be driven around like miss Daissy don't taxi cabs already do that, with all the righteous loud mouthed blabbering that goes on here no one has given one rational reson why exactly Apple should get involved and could hope to archive with this other than it would be cool to have an Apple Car and I suspect that's how this started at Apple too. People talk about greater safety but ain't no self driving car is going to stop a drunken maniac from plowing on to it killing the sleeping passenger inside, unless every one has a self driving vehicle and good luck with that, I just hope this is Tim trying to not be left behind like all that VR and AR business, and not a sereouse thing, the best strategy for an Apple car will be one where the user interacts with it frequently and sufficiently to expose Apple's strengths and that means driving it.
    dbeatsMetriacanthosaurus
  • Reply 7 of 15
    holyoneholyone Posts: 390member
    This self driving nonsense is starting to sound like 3D TVs, I'm not really sure what Apple really experts to gain by developing self driving technology, this goes against everything they do, Technonology + great design = great user experience, thats Apple, a car you just sit in and say "take me home" cuts out the very best thing that makes Apple products so great, physically interacting with them and using them, things that run with out you even being awere is not a great place for Apple to shine, that's Google's foray, what use is having a beutiful Ferrari that you dont drive but just sit in and play with you're phone, if the point is that every one is going to be driven around like miss Daissy don't taxi cabs already do that, with all the righteous loud mouthed blabbering that goes on here no one has given one rational reson why exactly Apple should get involved and could hope to archive with this other than it would be cool to have an Apple Car and I suspect that's how this started at Apple too. People talk about greater safety but ain't no self driving car is going to stop a drunken maniac from plowing on to it killing the sleeping passenger inside, unless every one has a self driving vehicle and good luck with that, I just hope this is Tim trying to not be left behind like all that VR and AR business, and not a sereouse thing, the best strategy for an Apple car will be one where the user interacts with it frequently and sufficiently to expose Apple's strengths and that means driving it.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    razormaidrazormaid Posts: 299member
    OMG. Apple could buy Avis rental car install self driving tech and launch a local pickup and delivery system instead of making cars . <GRIN> 
  • Reply 9 of 15
    irelandireland Posts: 17,649member
    gatorguy said:
    ireland said:
    cali said:
    Nice Apple Watch ad ;)

    my God this is ugly. Can't wait until Apple takes it out of the market. 
    Yes, but are Google even going to sell cars or just be most people's transport. Whereas Apple will want the former probably. But then when people are driven everywhere will they just stop buying cars altogether? For a lot of people, they may.
    Google announced almost two years ago that they had no intention of building consumer cars, and further that ride-sharing was one major focus for them. No interest in building the car itself but instead the platform that makes it possible. 

    FWIW if Apple has intentions of building cars themselves look for the same resistance and push-back the automakers showed Google initially. If only for that reason alone I don't see Apple building cars themselves. 
    Build a car yourself and you need an automaker? Build a car yourself and you are an automaker. My point about Google is they are more likely to guy up vehicles themselves, from a partner, equip them with Google self-driving tech and be an average person's transport. I..E Joe stops owning a vehicle.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    dbeatsdbeats Posts: 26member


    I'm still waiting for the proof that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic accidents. Data shows the tests get the same accident rate per 100k miles driven, except somehow it's always, "the other guys fault." 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    dbeats said:


    I'm still waiting for the proof that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic accidents. Data shows the tests get the same accident rate per 100k miles driven, except somehow it's always, "the other guys fault." 
    What data? How about a link or multiple links?
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 12 of 15
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,162member
    dbeats said:


    I'm still waiting for the proof that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic accidents. Data shows the tests get the same accident rate per 100k miles driven, except somehow it's always, "the other guys fault." 
    There can't be any data to show that. If there is wide spread adoption of autonomous vehicles in the future, its a no brainer traffic accidents will be greatly reduced. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 15
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,309member
    dbeats said:


    I'm still waiting for the proof that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic accidents. Data shows the tests get the same accident rate per 100k miles driven, except somehow it's always, "the other guys fault." 
    There can't be any data to show that. If there is wide spread adoption of autonomous vehicles in the future, its a no brainer traffic accidents will be greatly reduced. 
    Elon Musk has cited their own studies which support this theory.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,904member
    dbeats said:


    I'm still waiting for the proof that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic accidents. Data shows the tests get the same accident rate per 100k miles driven, except somehow it's always, "the other guys fault." 
    Personally I highly doubt that based on everything I've read. When you post something that doesn't sound credible your source for the claim would be appropriate. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 15 of 15
    dbeats said:


    I'm still waiting for the proof that autonomous vehicles will reduce traffic accidents. Data shows the tests get the same accident rate per 100k miles driven, except somehow it's always, "the other guys fault." 
    There can't be any data to show that. If there is wide spread adoption of autonomous vehicles in the future, its a no brainer traffic accidents will be greatly reduced. 
    I imagine the impressive statistics come in when it is a road full of self driving vehicles. When every car on the road is equipped to talk to one another, in ways which and on levels that humans cannot, it instantly changes the game on the road.

    I think it is important that we perfect this technology on the road. Then down the line, when the "always 20 years away" flying cars become a reality, it will start as autonomous only. The roads themselves are really the problem. Once we can have flying cars, that are entirely autonomous, getting from place to place will be fast and safe and easy.
    edited April 2017
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