Google's self-driving car offshoot, Waymo, has become one of the first companies to test fully autonomous, driverless cars on public roadways in the United States. Waymo has released a new video of its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica vans ferrying passengers around the Pheonix metropolitan area without a driver at the helm. The automaker has been offering free rides to Phoenix area residents in the test cars for about a year now, but a Waymo employee would be in the driver's seat in case anything went awry. Now the company is offering those rides without a driver up front, though an employee will still be in the back seat ready to push a "pull over" button should anything go wrong. Those who use the Waymo early rider program that has been in place the past year will soon have the option to order a fully self-driving Pacifica through the smartphone app. Additionally, Waymo will one day introduce a driverless taxi service in the Phoenix area that will be open to the general public. And as long as the law permits, the service may one day expand outside of Arizona.
So whereas many automakers are looking to develop and sell self-driving cars to customers, Waymo is looking to develop the tech and roll it out as part of a wider, mass transportation initiative. There's still a long way to go (it only began testing in Detroit recently, where it will acquire cold and inclement weather data this winter), but you might want to get used to hearing the word 'Waymo'.