On December 5, Waymo introduced its commercial self-driving service, Waymo One, in the Metro Phoenix area.
Waymo One will first be offered to hundreds of early riders who have been using Waymo’s self-driving technology since April 2017 as part of their early rider program. This diverse and passionate group has provided important feedback directly to Waymo’s research and product teams and has used Waymo for a variety of activities. Some took rides to their local college for classes or commuted to work and high school. Others used the service to get to book club each week, connect to busses, or try new restaurants on date night.
“Their feedback along the way helped refine the technology and design features that met their needs,” said Waymo CEO, John Krafcik. “Based on their comments we worked on ways to streamline pickups, made it easier to contact support for questions and began operating our service at all times of the day.”
The early rider program will continue as a way for a select group of individuals to give ongoing feedback. They’ll help test early features before those new capabilities graduate to Waymo One, where they can be accessed by the public over time.
So, how does Waymo One work? Riders are given access to the app which will be available on iOS and Android devices. They can use the app to call a self-driving vehicle 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Waymo One will be available across several cities in the Metro Phoenix area. Riders will see price estimates before they accept the trip based on factors like the time and distance to their destination.
Waymo One riders can also invite friends and family in the car with them. Up to three adults and a child can ride, and each vehicle comes equipped with one child safety car seat.
During the ride, all of the key trip details will display on the in-car screens as well as the app, and support will be front and center. With the tap of a button on the in-car console and screens, or through the Waymo app, riders can connect instantly to a rider support agent to ask questions.
These channels will become even more important as Waymo transitions to fully driverless rides. At the start, Waymo-trained drivers will be riding along to supervise the vehicles for rider comfort and convenience.
“There’s a long journey ahead,” Krafcik said, “but we believe that Waymo One will make the roads safer and easier for everyone to navigate.”
For more information, visit waymo.com/apply.