Waymo Launching Ride-Hailing Service in 2018 That May Rival Uber
【Summary】Just a week after Waymo and Uber settled their lawsuit over stolen IP related to autonomous driving, Waymo has announced its own ride-hailing service will launch later this year in Arizona. This commercial service might put Waymo in direct competition with rival Uber.
Just a week after Waymo and Uber settled their lawsuit over stolen IP related to autonomous driving, Waymo has announced its own ride-hailing service will launch later this year in Arizona. This commercial service might put Waymo in direct competition with rival Uber.
Waymo applied for a permit to operate as a transportation network company in Arizona on Jan. 12, and the permit was approved on Jan. 24, as reported by Quartz.
Waymo has ordered thousands of Chrysler Pacifica minivans to use for its transportation service and has partnered with the car rental company Avis to maintain its autonomous fleet.
The vehicle's are Waymo's first built on a mass-production platform with a fully-integrated hardware suite, designed by Waymo specifically for the purpose of autonomous driving. The Alphabet spinoff has been testing self-driving cars since 2009.
Last year, Waymo started its early rider program that was open to the public. People who signed up for the free pilot could summon a self-driving Pacifica minivan, which included a backup driver, whenever they need a ride to run errands, go shopping, or travel to select destinations within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Nearby towns included in the pilot are Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.
Arizona remains a popular testing location for self-driving cars, due to its favorable weather, wide, flat streets, and the full support of Arizona's governor, Doug Ducey.
Uber moved its operations to the Phoenix area in December of 2016 from San Francisco, where the company was testing self-driving pickups with a fleet of autonomous Volvo XC90 SUVs.
The move to Arizona was a result of California's DMV revoking Uber's vehicle registrations for not having the required autonomous vehicle testing permit after the one of its Volvo's was filmed running a red light in the city. However, the company was warmly welcomed in Arizona by Governor Ducey, where Uber continues to conduct its own ride-hailing tests with its self-driving Volvos.
Waymo has also been working alongside other companies testing self-driving technology. Uber's main rival Lyft, General Motors, as well as Intel have deployed hundreds of self-driving cars on the streets of the Phoenix metro area, a metropolis with a population of 1.4 million.
If Waymo's service is successful, it is likely to roll out to other cities including Atlanta, the city Waymo recently selected as the next location for its fleet of self-driving minivans.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Self-driving Startup AutoX Applies for a Permit to Test its Vehicles Without a Human Backup Driver in California
General Motors & LG Chem Are Investing up to $2.3 Billion in New EV Battery Joint Venture
Hyundai Motor Co is Investing $52 Billion in Electric & Autonomous Vehicles and Mobility Services by 2025
Tesla Rival Lucid Motors Hosts an Official 'Ground-Building' Event for its New $1 Billion Arizona Factory
Polestar Enters Final Prototype Phase Before Production of the Mass-Market Electric Polestar 2
BMW to Build a New Auto Plant in China with Great Wall Motor to Produce the Electric MINI
With 200,000 Reservations Since Last Week, Tesla’s New Cybertruck Ignites Interest in Electric Pickups
London Revokes Uber’s License for the Second Time Citing a ‘Pattern of Failure’ Over Rider Safety
- Tesla Reportedly Working on a Million-Mile Battery Pack
- Waymo’s Detroit Plant Helping With Autonomous Car Production
- Volvo, Geely Merging Combustion Engine Operations in a Move to EVs
- ID.4 to be Volkswagen’s New U.S.-bound EV Crossover
- Lincoln's Upcoming Electric SUV Might Use Rivian's Skateboard EV Platform
- Ford Motor Co Forms New Joint Venture with Indian Automaker Mahindra
- BMW i Ventures Invests in Silicon Valley-based Flexible Circuit Maker CelLink
- Global Mining Group Rio Tinto Sets its Sights on California for Lithium Production
- General Motors Vehicles Will Have Google Assistant Built-in Starting in 2021
- Tesla Acquires DeepScale, a Startup Improving Deep Neural Nets for Self-Driving Cars