Waymo is first to put fully self-driving cars on US roads without a safety driver

The Verge – Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reached an important milestone recently: since mid-October, the company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind the wheel. And starting very soon, the company plans to invite regular people for rides in these fully self-driving vehicles.

The news that Waymo’s vehicles have been on public roads with no human in the driver’s seat was announced today by the company’s CEO John Krafcik at a tech conference in Lisbon. The announcement comes on the heels of Waymo’s decision to invite a group of reporters to visit Castle, a 91-acre facility in California’s Central Valley that it has been using as a training course for its self-driving vehicles. At the time, Krafcik declined to provide an exact timetable as to when it would begin testing fully self-driving vehicles on public roads. Little did we know at the time, they were already doing it.

“Fully self-driving cars are here,” Krafcik said, according to a copy of his speech provided by Waymo.

Read more at The Verge.

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Older version of Waymo self-driving car
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Mark Doliner, CC BY 2.0