Waymo CEO John Krafcik just announced that Google has been running an under-the-radar program for testing self-driving cars with real passengers, and now they’re expanding it.
The cars are being tested in the Phoenix suburbs, and Waymo published a cute video with one of the families that has been testing the car.
To watch the video, it appears that the vehicle does not have a safety driver, although perhaps the family members are trained to operate self-driving cars in an emergency.
Now that Waymo is bringing the program out of stealth, it’s recruiting more families to try out the service, so if you live in the Phoenix area, you should apply!
This is a particularly interesting announcement, because speculation has been rampant about what Waymo’s next move is with self-driving cars.
Google (Waymo’s parent company) has had self-driving cars spinning around Mountain View for years, with paid test drivers. The caution about putting real passengers in these cars caused a lot of people to question whether Google was going to give up a big lead to more aggressive companies like Tesla and Uber.
It’s good to see Google getting out there and ramping up it’s customer base. Here’s hoping the vehicles come to northern California soon.