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Waymo Reveals Ride-Sharing Program With Autonomous Cars Will Begin Before 2019

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Posted November 20, 2018

Executives at Waymo recently announced they will soon begin offering a ride sharing service with self-driving cars to American consumers. If all goes according to plan, customers could call one of Waymo’s autonomous cars using the company’s app before 2019.

Waymo self-driving car. Image credit: Grendelkhan via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Not many details are known about how Waymo’s new service will operate, but industry insiders expect the company will start by expanding its services in the Phoenix area. Waymo has been testing its autonomous vehicles in Phoenix with a select group of 400 families over the past few months.

In interviews, Waymo executives say there will be human drivers in their autonomous vehicles during the launch of their ride-sharing feature. These drivers will be able to manually take over control of the self-driving car in case of a malfunction.

As the technology is perfected, however, Waymo would like all of their cars to be totally driverless. To fine-tune their self-driving software, the company will continue beta testing in its Mountain View headquarters and in other US cities.

There’s no word on how much it will cost to ride in one of these self-driving cars, but most ride-sharing experts believe it will be cheaper than using vehicles with drivers. Business leaders expect retail companies will be most interested in using Waymo’s services to conveniently transport customers.

If Waymo’s self-driving service proves successful, then it could pose a significant threat to companies like Uber and Lyft. Interestingly, both Uber and Lyft are already closely working with Alphabet, which is the parent company of Waymo.

In addition to Phoenix, a few Californian cities could see Waymo vehicles on their streets in the near future. California’s DMV recently said it would allow Waymo to test its self-driving vehicles on public roads in cities such as Los Altos, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View.

Accident lawyers in many Californian cities are getting ready for the legal challenges these new autonomous vehicles pose for other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Many law firms, such as the Mova Law Group in San Diego, actually have experts ready to handle the complexities of autonomous vehicle cases.

Especially during the testing phase, accidents involving autonomous vehicles will occur in tech-friendly states like California. As laws catch up to 21st century innovations, more lawyers will have to be skilled in addressing issues involving self-driving cars.

For more information on the latest news out of Waymo, be sure to visit the company’s website at https://waymo.com/.

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