Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Waymo Driverless Robotaxis Make 50K Trips a Week: Report

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Hailing a Waymo taxi means getting into a car with no driver — and according to new numbers released by the company last week, more and more people are willing to do it.

Alphabet-owned Waymo is carrying out over 50,000 paid robotaxi rides per week in three U.S. cities with its all-electric, autonomous fleet, the company announced.

Waymo also publicized that it has successfully completed over a million rider-only trips.

Inside a self-driving Waymo car. Photo by JASON HENRY/AFP via Getty Images

Waymo’s robotaxi bookings are concentrated in three major cities: Phoenix, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The Waymo One app, which functions just like Lyft or Uber except for the car that shows up without a human driver, works around the clock in certain areas of those cities.

The cost of a Waymo ride in Los Angeles, per Time Out, was around $7.61 for a 2.1-mile, 14-minute trip. Waymo told California regulators late last year that its San Francisco fleet numbered 250 vehicles, but has not stated how many cars it has in its entire operation.

“Fully autonomous ride-hailing is a reality and a preferred mobility option for people navigating their cities every day,” Waymo said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

In March, at SXSW today in Austin, Texas, Waymo co-CEO, Tekedra Mawakana announced that the Waymo One would be available in Austin “later this year.”

Related: Traffic Jam Caused by Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco Sparks Outcry and Safety Concerns

Waymo’s robotaxis drive themselves and are fully electric, but they aren’t without their complications. Waymo disclosed and corrected a software issue across its entire fleet two months ago. In February, Waymo told the public that two of its robotaxis “made contact” with a pickup truck that the company stated was being “improperly towed” in front of them.

The robotaxis incorrectly predicted where the towed vehicle would be, resulting in the accident. They were not carrying any passengers and only had minor damage.

Waymo updated the software of its entire fleet to correct the issue.

Last month, six Waymo vehicles blocked road traffic in San Francisco and in February, one struck a cyclist, resulting in minor injuries.

The company maintains that its robotaxis are significantly safer than human-driven vehicles, and has released research reports supporting its claims.

Related: Elon Musk Reveals When Tesla Will Release Its First Robotaxi

Other robotaxi companies have faced accidents, too. Amazon-backed Zoox is under investigation beginning Monday after its self-driving cars braked suddenly two separate times, causing rear-end collisions.

A robotaxi from G.M.’s Cruise was involved in an accident with a pedestrian in October, resulting in the California DMV suspending Cruise’s robotaxi permit.

Tesla will show off its first robotaxi soon: CEO Elon Musk wrote that the Tesla Robotaxi unveil will happen on August 8.





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