Logged-out Icon

Waymo launches free robotaxi service in Los Angeles; Plans expansion


Starting Thursday, Alphabet-owned self-driving car company Waymo has begun driverless robotaxi service in Los Angeles. The company further plans to expand its autonomous taxi service in Austin later this year.

“After achieving key milestones in each city, we’re so excited to bring the safety, comfort and delight of our Waymo One service to more people in Los Angeles and Austin this year,” Waymo’s co-CEO, Tekedra Mawakana said in a blog.

Talking about LA, the announcement follows the approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), allowing Waymo to commence its ride-hailing program, Waymo One, in the city. Initially, the free driverless taxi service will cover a 63-square-mile area, connecting Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles. In the coming weeks, these rides will become a paid service. Furthermore, Waymo gradually aims to welcome over 50,000 individuals on its LA waitlist, alongside distributing temporary codes at local events.

Meanwhile, Waymo also has its sights set on Austin, Texas, and announced its plans to launch a commercial robotaxi service in Austin by the end of the year. The move comes after the company last week began testing its fully autonomous vehicles, without a safety operator, in Austin with company employees as the first passengers. In its initial phase of employee transportation, the company’s driverless cars will operate within a designated 43-square-mile area of Austin, encompassing, Waymo service will cover key areas like downtown, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin, and Hyde Park.

This expansion will mark Austin as the fourth city to host Waymo’s commercial driverless service, joining Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Waymo isn’t the only player in the driverless car race, but it’s a clear frontrunner.

While Waymo, headquartered in Mountain View, California, is steadily expanding its operations, its competitors like Cruise and Argo AI have faced setbacks. These include accidents, investigations, and even closures. Even Waymo has not been without its own issues. A TechCrunch report noted recent incidents in San Francisco, including a collision with a cyclist and a software recall involving multiple vehicles, highlighting the ongoing challenges in ensuring the safety and reliability of autonomous driving technology.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website