Waymo testing self-driving car ride
service in Arizona
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[April 25, 2017]
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet
Inc's Waymo autonomous vehicle group will begin testing a self-driving
car program for hundreds of families in Phoenix, Arizona and is buying
500 Chrysler minivans to do so, the companies said on Tuesday.
Waymo, which along with Google is owned by Alphabet Inc<GOOGL.O>,
recently has been quietly testing the service for a handful of families,
learning what potential customers would want from a ride service, the
company said in a blog post.
It urged people to apply to take part in an expanded test, which is the
first public trial of Waymo's self-driving cars. The vehicles include
human operators from Waymo behind the wheel, in case intervention is
required and to take feedback.
Silicon Valley is racing to master self-driving technology, betting that
it will transform the auto industry and be a gold mine for leading
companies. Waymo has one of the best technology track records, and it
has an alliance with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles <FCHA.MI>.
Many companies expect that customers will use autonomous vehicles as a
service, rather than owning them outright. Ride service Uber in
particular expects to use autonomous cars.
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Waymo unveils a self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan during the
North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.,
January 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
The new Waymo test in Arizona is meant to help the company
understand what people want out of self-driving cars and see how
they use and integrate the service. Testers will get access every
day at any time.
Waymo already has with 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and is
acquiring five times more, partly to be able to support the service.
(Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Mary Milliken)
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