Waymo finally going "completely driverless"
Some cars may no longer have a human safety driver behind the wheel.
Waymo is apparently preparing to offer rides without any human safety driver behind the wheel.
Some of the "early rider" customers have received emails noting that "completely driverless Waymo cars are on the way" and will soon be giving rides in the Phoenix area.
Until now, members of the public were always given rides with a human behind the wheel to take over manual operation. Truly driverless rides have been reserved for Waymo staff.
The email clarifies that "you can enjoy having the car all to yourself," indicating there may be no Waymo employee in the passenger seat, though the cars will presumably be remotely monitored to ensure any surprises are quickly resolved.
The company is considered a leader in self-driving technology but has been cautious to roll out service incrementally, starting with a relatively small section of Phoenix suburbs. With many miles logged during testing, the availability of truly driverless taxi service suggests the cars are able to consistently handle maneuvering through the geo-fenced area without needing intervention from a safety driver.
The company has not made an official announcement of the driverless program, which may represent a small portion of total rides at first.