- Waymo showed a video at SXSW that chronicled recent adventures in its fully driverless vehicle.
- The Google/Alphabet spinoff has been using Chrysler Pacifica minivans to ferry riders around Phoenix.
- The company plans to start a ride-hailing service using the tech.
At SXSW in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, Waymo showed a short video of its fully driverless car pilot program, currently underway in Phoenix, Arizona.
The video was part of a talk given by Waymo CEO John Krafcik, an auto industry veteran who joined the company several years ago, back when it was still known as the Google Car project.
The Waymo driverless experiment has been underway in Phoenix since last year, using Chrysler Pacifica minivans outfitted with Waymo’s laser-radar-based self-driving technology.
The big change, documented in the video, is the disappearance of the actual driver. For months, a human backup has been behind the wheel, but the company recently got the ok to let its cars chauffer people around without a human backup operator.
Check it out.
A Waymo Pacifica, in sunny Arizona, considered by most automakers to be a nearly ideal environment to test driverless cars. Great weather and big, wide streets are a plus.
Waymo said that it has 600 Pacificas in service now, with plans to add thousands more.
That’s right, no human at the wheel.
People are amazed.
“Members of the public have been using an app to hail our self-driving cars to get to work, school, and run errands, since early 2017,” Waymo said in a statement.
Admittedly, it is a bit shocking to sit in the back and watch as the car drives itself.
But riders are quickly delighted.
And genuinely psyched about the new technology, which Google has been developing for years, racking up millions of miles.
As you can see, the large roads and cleat sunny weather throw few major challenges at the tech.
However, Waymo has also tested its vehicles in San Francisco, Michigan, and and Washington state.