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Waymo starts testing self-driving minivans in San Francisco

The company is returning to its autonomous vehicle roots.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
January 12, 2018
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Waymo's self-driving minivans are now ready for the road. The company has confirmed to TechCrunch that it's testing its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica vehicles on San Francisco streets, where the "hilly and foggy" environment should give them "even more practice." Suffice it to say the densely packed city could provide a greater challenge than Chandler, Arizona, whose spacious suburban landscape is well-suited to driverless car experiments.

The testing is a callback of sorts for Waymo -- the formerly Google-owned company notes that it conducted some of its first tests in San Francisco back in 2009. Circumstances have changed a lot in the past 9 years, of course. Where self-driving cars had barely gotten started the first time around, they're now advanced enough that driverless taxi services loom on the horizon. It's still likely to be a long while before a robotic ride takes you from SoMA to North Beach, but there's a good chance you won't have to wait another 9 years for that to happen.

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