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The Google sibling says it has 1,500 monthly riders, including some who are chauffeured without a human backup driver.
A year after launching its self-driving ride-hail program, Waymo is offering an iOS version of its app in the App Store, making it easier for iPhone users to catch a robotic ride in the Phoenix suburbs. The announcement from the Alphabet company, born in 2009 as Google’s Project Chauffeur, represents one more small step on the long, perhaps never-ending path to bring autonomous driving to life.
Until now, iPhone-carrying, would-be riders have had to sign up through Waymo’s website, which would provide a link to download the app. The company made the Android version of its app available from Google Play in April.
Downloading Waymo’s app doesn’t guarantee you a ride, but a place on its waitlist. Those whom Waymo accepts—locals only, please—will likely be put into the early rider program to start. That’s the service Waymo uses to test new features, like the ability to play one’s music through the car’s speakers. Riders are expected to provide feedback and sign nondisclosure agreements preventing them from talking about their experiences publicly or on social media. Eventually, you’ll be ushered into the “public arm” of Waymo One, which launched last year and comes with the right to bring guests along for rides and tell the whole world about it.
The cars operate 24/7, and can go anywhere within a territory that includes parts of Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert. All riders pay for their seats; spokesperson Julianne McGoldrick says the fares are comparable to those charged by ride-hail outfits like Uber.
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