Waymo opens its self-driving taxis to 'Trusted Testers' in San Francisco

A safety driver will be at the wheel to ensure nothing goes awry.


Alphabet's fully autonomous driving unit Waymo is ready to offer rides to select passengers in San Francisco, the company announced on Tuesday. Starting later today, residents can sign up to become "Trusted Testers." With an invite to the program, you can use the Waymo One app to take rides in the fleet of Jaguar I-Pace vehicles Waymo will have stationed in the city.

Waymo describes the Trusted Tester program as a "research-focused" effort designed to help it collect feedback on its ride experience, with an emphasis on gathering information related to accessibility.

"We kicked off this program last week with a select few and are now expanding the program to all interested San Franciscans," the company said. "We’ll begin with an initial group and welcome more riders in the weeks to come." Much like it did in Arizona, Waymo won't let the cars drive without supervision right off the back. The company will have employees in the cars to ensure its fifth-generation Waymo Driver technology doesn't get lost on San Francisco's tricky one-way streets and hills. The company also told Bloomberg passengers will ride for free.

The expansion comes after Waymo recently announced CEO John Krafcik was leaving the company to pursue other projects. Some saw Krafcik as being too slow to push the company toward commercialization.