Starting today, human-averse travelers in Phoenix can book a fully autonomous Waymo ride between the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and downtown. The Alphabet-owned company, which is also doubling its fully automated coverage area in the city, says the new route is the world’s only fully autonomous airport robotaxi service.
Waymo has accelerated its public rollout lately. In March, it received permission to charge for rides with a human safety driver in San Francisco. It also got approval last month to offer fully driverless cars there before rolling out service to the public earlier in December. San Francisco riders can now book a Waymo robotaxi across “a large portion of the city, including every neighborhood along the 17-mile Crosstown Trail.”
However, the company is still waiting for approval to charge for rider-only cars in San Francisco. It currently only offers service to Waymo employees, their guests and select members of the public. Waymo was the second fully autonomous service operating in San Francisco, behind GM-owned rival Cruise (although it only offers fully automated rides at night).
Waymo’s expansion means more Americans can book a driverless car, but it’s still modest compared to what you’ll see in China. Baidu's robotaxi service is available to the public in larger Chinese cities, although with limitations on cars without a safety driver.