Waymo's first commercial self-driving rides could happen as soon as December: Report

Waymo

  • Waymo will start commercial autonomous rides next month, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.
  • The first riders will likely be those in the company’s existing test group of 400 families, who will be released from their non-disclosure agreements at that time.
  • Waymo has driven many more miles than its closest competitor, GM, with more than 10 million self-driving under its belt.

Waymo – Google’s secretive self-driving unit – is planning to launch its first commercial rides as soon as next month, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday citing a person familiar with the matter.

The service will be launched under a different name, and aims to compete directly with the likes of Uber and Lyft, according to Bloomberg. People in the company’s test group of 400 families that have been riding for the past year will most likely be the first to test – and will be released from their non-disclosure agreements at that time, Bloomberg said.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Waymo said it’s “been working on self-driving technology for nearly a decade” with safety “at the core” of its entire business. A spokesperson did not respond to question from Business Insider about the timing of the rollout or name of the service.

Waymo is far and away the leader when it comes to self-driving cars. It’s logged more than 10 million autonomous miles on public roads, mostly near its headquarters in Mountain View, California and elsewhere in the state as well as Phoenix, Austin, Atlanta, Detroit and others.

Waymo has averaged around 6,000 miles without a human intervention, as of March, and General Motors, its closest competitor, has averaged far fewer miles between disengagements, and has driven fewer total miles.


Read more:
A Waymo engineer told us why a virtual-world simulation is crucial to the future of self-driving cars

But those miles haven’t come without incidents, of course. Last week, a Waymo backup driver took over from the self-driving computer system, and caused more harm than good by side-swiping a motorcyclist and sending them to the hospital.

Wall Street analysts are confident that Waymo can be a big revenue boon for Alphabet. Mark Kelley, an analyst at Nomura Instinet, said news last month that it was testing pricing strategist is “an encouraging sign as another business with a large addressable market moves toward revenue generation.”

Read the full Bloomberg report here.

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