Waymo is telling customers it will start offering rides in its autonomous cars without safety drivers

WaymoA Chrysler Pacifica minivan with Waymo’s autonomous-driving technology.
  • Waymo has emailed users of its autonomous ride-hailing service, Waymo One, that it plans to start giving rides in vehicles without safety drivers.
  • A Waymo representative told Business Insider that, as with its other vehicles, remote human operators will not be able to control the vehicles that don’t have safety drivers.
  • The removal of safety drivers, who can take over if a vehicle’s autonomous-driving technology malfunctions, will represent a major step for Waymo and the autonomous-vehicle industry.
  • While Waymo has tested vehicles without human safety drivers on public roads, using them for rides with customers suggests a new degree of confidence in the company’s autonomous-driving technology.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Waymo has emailed users of its autonomous ride-hailing service, Waymo One, that it plans to start giving rides in vehicles without safety drivers.

A copy of the email appeared in a Reddit post on Wednesday, and a Waymo representative confirmed the email’s authenticity to Business Insider. The Waymo representative added that, as with its other vehicles, remote human operators will not be able to control the vehicles that don’t have safety drivers.


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The email does not specify when the rides in vehicles without safety drivers will start or what percentage of Waymo One rides will use those vehicles. Riders will be able to contact a customer service representative through the vehicle or the Waymo One app if needed, the email says.


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The removal of safety drivers, who can take over if a vehicle’s autonomous-driving technology malfunctions, will represent a major step for Waymo and the autonomous-vehicle industry. While Waymo has tested vehicles without human safety drivers on public roads, using them for rides with customers suggests a new degree of confidence in the company’s autonomous-driving technology.

Seen by many experts as the leader in the autonomous-vehicle industry, Waymo launched Waymo One, the first commercial autonomous ride-hailing service in the US, in parts of Arizona in 2018.

Are you a current or former Waymo employee? Do you have an opinion about what it’s like to work there? Contact this reporter at [email protected]. You can ask for more secure methods of communication, like Signal or ProtonMail, by email or Twitter direct-message.

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