A Waymo self-driving car successfully completed a trip without a safety driver for the first time in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The trip saw a Jaguar I-Pace fitted with Waymo’s self-driving system take an employee to get their morning coffee and then take them to work.
Waymo’s self-driving cars have been providing lifts to Waymo workers in San Francisco since mid-2021, although there is always a safety driver behind the wheel. Now cars will start running without a safety driver, although lifts will only be given to employees.
Wemo did not say when the first members of the public would be able to board his self-driving car in San Francisco. The main competitor Cruise has a self-propelled car without a safe driver that drives on crowded city streets and in February the cruise began allowing members of the public to sign up for a ride, although the company did not say when the first public ride would take place. Will happen
Waymo has been testing self-driving cars in San Francisco for more than 12 years, when the company was still a SkunkWorks team at the parent company Google. However, the company’s first self-driving service to the public, known as Wemo One, was launched in 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The service was launched in the eastern valley of Phoenix and will later be extended to downtown Phoenix, Wemo, said Wednesday.
Although Waymo currently relies on regular vehicles like the I-Pace and Chrysler Pacifica for its self-driving cars, the company may eventually replace it with a dedicated car. Wemo said last December that it would add to its U.S. fleet an electric shuttle built by Zeekr, prototypes of which are already being tested.
Waymo’s self-driving system, known as the Waymo Driver, ranks at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability because it can drive on its own, although only with restrictions, the main one being in a geofenced area. Level 5 is the ultimate goal, as it represents a system that can drive at the same level as a human.
Waymo’s long-term goal is to build a powerful and reliable self-driving system capable of handling roads around the world. The company does not plan to build self-driving cars but to offer the technology to other companies as a service or through direct licensing. The company is building its system for both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles such as delivery vans and semi-trailer trucks. Waymo’s self-driving delivery service is known as Waymo Via.