Waymo trials fully driverless rides in San Francisco

The company is also expanding autonomous rides to downtown Phoenix.


Waymo is now operating fully driverless cars in more than one city. The Alphabet-owned brand has started trials of self-driving Jaguar I-Pace EVs in San Francisco with no backup drivers. The tests are limited to employees hailing rides in the company's early service area, but this still represents a major milestone — the company claimed in a message to Engadget that it was the first anywhere to offer autonomous ride-hailing in two different territories.

You'll also see an expanded footprint in Arizona. Waymo said it will expand fully autonomous rides to downtown Phoenix, starting with employees. Members of the public in the Trusted Tester program can hail rides "soon after," Waymo said.

It's not certain when Waymo might offer trips to the general public in San Francisco. The company recently received permission to charge for self-driving rides in California, but only as long as there's a backup driver aboard. Still, both rollouts indicate greater confidence on Waymo's part. It's more willing to test its autonomous system in densely-populated areas (where traffic and roadwork can be huge headaches), and without leaning as much on human safety nets.