Waymo is Offering Free WiFi in its Robo-Taxis to Lure in Riders
【Summary】Waymo is testing complimentary Wi-Fi in its autonomous taxis in the Phoenix area where it is currently testing its Waymo One service.
Waymo, the self-driving car division the sprung from Google's self-driving car project, is hoping to lure riders into its robotaxis with additional perks, including free Wi-Fi.
Reuters reports that Waymo is testing complimentary Wi-Fi in its autonomous taxis in the Phoenix area where it is currently testing its Waymo One service. The company's fleet autonomous taxis have been carrying paying passengers since December.
The free Wi-Fi access, which has not been previously reported, is available to a select group of riders that get to try out new features. However, they are restricted by Waymo from talking publicly about their experience. Two riders told Reuters they first noticed laminated fliers with Wi-Fi instructions in vans in April.
Waymo is betting that free WiFi and other perks will lure riders who might otherwise summon a ride from Uber or Lyft. In April, Waymo previously launched ad-free music streaming for passengers through its Google Play Music app.
For parents of young children, Waymo installed a child car seat in each of its autonomous taxis and also ensures vehicles arrive cooled to a precise 72 degrees in Arizona's desert heat.
Waymo is hoping to persuade passengers that the company's ride service is less stressful and more convenient than driving their own cars or riding with competitors. Waymo says that it self-driving technology is also much safer than a human driver.
Eliminating human drivers would also slash Waymo's operating costs, something that ride-hailing giant Uber is counting on as well after its April IPO. In addition, Waymo's robotaxis are less costly to operate without human drivers and may allow the company to charge lower fares that Uber and still turn a profit.
Wall Street investment analysts have estimated Waymo's value at more than $100 billion, assuming that its in-car services generate revenue.
"Whether you want to catch up on emails or jam out to some of your favorite tunes using our music integration, we encourage riders to make this space their own," spokeswoman Julianne McGoldrick said.
Waymo's autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans currently serve a 100-square-mile area near Phoenix. More than 1,000 users are participating in Waymo's "Early Rider Program" the largest autonomous on-demand ride-hailing service of its kind in the U.S. Riders summon a ride in one of the company's autonomous taxis using Waymo's smartphone app.
Waymo plans to expand its autonomous taxi service to other cities including Austin, Texas and Mountain View, California.
The free Wi-Fi may one day be used for add-on services that generate additional revenue for Waymo. Combined with other perks, Waymo is looking to provide the best customer experience while riding in one of its autonomous vehicles.
"Those who win this space are going to have the most convenient solution and the best experience," said Mark Boyadjis to Reuters, a global auto technology lead at research firm IHS Markit.
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.
Trump Pardons Ex-Google Engineer Who Plead Guilty to Stealing Trade Secrets Related to Lidar Technology
Amazon-backed EV Startup Rivian Raises $2.6 Billion Led By T. Rowe Price
General Motors, Microsoft & Cruise to Work Together on the Development of Commercial Self-driving Vehicles
Newly Formed Auto Group 'Stellantis' Debuts on European Stock Markets, Shares Rise Nearly 8%
China’s EV Startup Xpeng Unveils the Beta Version of its Advanced Self-Driving Feature Called ‘Navigation Guided Pilot’
Automakers Are Scaling Back Production Due to Growing Semiconductor Shortages
HERE Technologies Creates Detailed 3D Models of 75 City Centers to Help Drivers Better Navigate
General Motors Provides an Update on its Plans for a ‘Zero Emissions’ Electric Future at CES 2021
- U.S. Retailer Walmart Partners with GM's Cruise on a Self-Driving Delivery Pilot in Arizona
- Waymo Releases Report on How it Ensures its Autonomous Vehicles Offer the Highest Level of Safety
- Elektrobit Unveils an Industry First Software-based Vehicle Architecture Platform for Next-Gen Vehicles
- BMW’s ‘Digital Key Plus’ With Ultra-Wideband Technology is Coming to the Electric iX SUV
- Mercedes Benz Unveils its 56-inch AI-Powered ‘Hyperscreen’ Dashboard Display
- Hyundai’s Motional to Partner with Ride-Hailing Company Via on a U.S. Robotaxi Service
- Hyundai Reveals Specs for the Upcoming 2022 Tucson SUV
- Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp & Hino to Develop a Class-8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Truck for North America
- Massachusetts Announces Ban on New Gas-Powered Cars
- Luxury Electric Automaker Lucid Motors Opens its Studio & Service Center in Southern California