Waymo self-driving autonomous car.

By Urooba Jamal 

  • The company is initially limiting the rides to its employees before opening up to the public.
  • Waymo’s autonomous vehicles have been operating in San Francisco, but with safety specialists in the driver’s seat.
  • The company first began offering autonomous rides in Arizona in 2017.

Google’s self-driving startup Waymo has begun operating fully driverless rides in San Francisco, the company announced on Wednesday.

The company said that the service is just for its employees at the moment, but it hopes to open the service to the general public soon. The company’s vehicles have been operating in the city for years, but with safety specialists in the driver’s seat. 

“This morning in San Francisco, a fully autonomous all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, with no human driver behind the wheel, picked up a Waymo engineer to get their morning coffee and go to work,” the company said on their website.

The company first began offering autonomous rides in the East Valley are of Phoenix, Arizona in 2017. It went fully driverless there in 2020, when Waymo took human safety drivers out of the vehicles.

In addition to San Francisco, the company will now expand its fully automated services to downtown Phoenix, the company said, again initially with company employees before opening up to the general public.

“We’re particularly excited about this next phase of our journey as we officially bring our rider-only technology to San Francisco — the city many of us at Waymo call home,” Waymo Co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana said in the announcement.

San Francisco has been the location of a number of automated vehicles trials, with California officials allowing a record number of them in 2021. Collisions involving autonomous vehicles also increased sharply that year as a result.

Via BusinessInsider.co.za