Austin to experience Waymo’s revolutionary robotaxi service before the year’s end

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Waymo will begin offering a robotaxi service to the public in Los Angeles this week and in Austin by the end of the year, the company’s co-CEO Tekedra Mawakan said Wednesday at SXSW. Opening up a robotaxi service means the public will be able to hail a ride in a driverless car via the Waymo One app. Austin will become the fourth city where Waymo operates a commercial driverless service. Waymo also operates a robotaxi service in Phoenix, San Francisco and soon Los Angeles. Unlike Texas, regulators in California require companies hoping to deploy commercial robotaxi services to attain a number of permits.

“Waymo Unveils Autonomous Rides for Staff in Austin”

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Waymo will start letting its autonomous vehicles traverse Austin without a safety operator behind the wheel as of tomorrow, a crucial step before the company opens the program up to the public. The company announced Tuesday that it will begin shuttling employees around 43 square miles of the Texas capital, including the Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin and Hyde Park neighborhoods, as well as downtown Austin. Waymo didn’t offer a timeline for when it plans to start offering autonomous rides to the citizens of Austin. Waymo continues to steadily expand its autonomous ride-hailing program, which it calls Waymo One, even as other companies in the space have struggled. Just last month, one of the company’s autonomous vehicles collided with a cyclist in San Francisco — an incident that the California Department of Motor Vehicles is investigating.