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Waymo Coming to Atlanta

Self-driving minivans will soon be traversing Atlanta streets.

by on Jan.23, 2018

Waymo's driverless Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids may be seen on Atlanta roads pretty soon.

Looks like Waymo is moving from AZ to the ATL! The self-driving car company put out a tweet letting Atlantans know that it was the next stop on Waymo’s tour.

“Hello ATL! Metro Atlanta is the next stop for Waymo’s test program. Now that we have the world’s first fully self-driving vehicles on public roads in AZ, we’re looking to take our tech to more cities,” the company tweeted.

News You Can Trust!

Georgia is the seventh state that Waymo has tested its vehicles in, although its only admitted to starting to map the city of Atlanta at this point. The company’s been testing and evolving its self-driving vehicles for nine years now.

The company’s most recent effort focused on Phoenix, including ferrying passengers around in self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

(Waymo to give Phoenix riders a lift in a driverless minivan. Click Herefor the story.)

Waymo is already testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and will soon add fully driverless ones.

“Now that we have the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads, we’re focused on taking our technology to a wide variety of cities and environments,” Waymo spokesperson Lauren Barriere told USA Today.

Waymo quietly began testing completely driverless vehicles in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona, last month. Now, the Google spinoff’s CEO said it will begin using those vehicles in its pilot ride-sharing service within “a few months.”

Waymo is one of a number of companies that now wants to take the driver out of the picture entirely, a move that experts believe will lower the cost of hailing a ride to the point where it will become cheaper than owning and operating a personal vehicle.

(Click Here to see more about Waymo preparing to take on Michigan winter.)

Until recently, the subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet had been focused on autonomous vehicles – those that would require a back-up driver ready to take control in an emergency. But after one of those “operators” fell asleep behind the wheel, CEO John Krafcik said, Waymo decided to focus on completely driverless vehicles – Level 5 technology in industry-speak.

After clocking millions of miles in testing, Waymo earlier this year launched a pilot ride-sharing service in Phoenix. Up until now, there has always been a trained operator behind the wheel but on Oct. 19, Krafcik revealed, it set loose its first pilot vehicles with no driver at the ready.

The vehicles do have a Waymo employee on board, but they sit in the back seat and, at most, can hit an emergency shut-off switch if something goes wrong.

(Waymo gives lo-down on autonomous vehicles. For the story, Click Here.)

The driverless vehicles are still in the test process and it will be a “few months,” before they begin taking passengers, Krafcik said. And those will be volunteers among those already participating in the Phoenix-area test program.

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