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Alphabet’s Waymo to Launch a Fully-Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service

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Published on : Nov 08, 2017

Exciting launches in autonomous vehicle technology in recent years seem to up the ante in the consumer automotive market, with some prominent technology players and hail-riding companies with the likes of Apple, Lyft, Intel Corporation, General Motors, and Delphi Automotive, jumping the fray. In what seems to be an innovation in the autonomous car market, Waymo, a notable self-driving car project, owned by Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, has decided to deploy autonomous robotaxis, sans any human behind the steering wheel, on public roads in the U.S. state of Arizona.

Robotaxis Hailed as Safer and More Reliable that Human-assist Cars

The robot cars are way safer than human driven-taxis, stated the company. The move that started on October 19, 2017, believes Alphabet’s Waymo, will catapult it ahead of others in the autonomous cars market, which is characterized by investments by several large automakers, profusely-funded startups, and technology behemoths. Earlier, the company has been testing the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans on the public roads of a suburb of Phoenix since 2016, but with a human always present at the steering wheel.

Chrysler Pacifica Minivans to be Basis of Driverless Ride-Hailing Service

For long, Google has harped on materializing its dream of running cars without any driver-assist systems, with Waymo’s launches providing the needed boost for the initiatives. At present, these fully autonomous minivans are programmed to traverse certain geographic areas called a ‘geo-fenced’ area, and will initially be limited to the Google’s employees. With time, the area will expand to cover the entire Phoenix. The company will expand these Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans to form the basis of driverless ride-hailing service in the coming years. The ride will powered by ride-hailing app.

For now, Phoenix, Arizona was chosen for the testing on account of a favorable weather free from any inclement conditions. However, the company is still testing the operation of its minivans in heavy snow and rain.