Google Waymo: now testing with no driver

Published: 08 November 2017

► Google accelerates driverless tests
► Waymo's autonomous project
► Public driverless tests are go

The race to launch driverless cars just hotted up: Google's autonomous Waymo project has declared itself ready for the next round of tests - with no need for human back-up.

It says it is so confident in its system's ability after 3.5 million miles of public testing on US public roads that the next phase will not require human support in the driver's seat. 

Waymo goes driverless, kind of

Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, is opening up a public taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona, as part of its testing procedure.

Google's Waymo driverless taxi: a Chrysler Pacifica

The vehicles will be Chrysler Pacifica minivans (above) and a Google representative will be in the back seat. Previously, a staff member would have travelled in the front in case of emergency.

CEO John Krafcik said that the public taxi service would take place on pre-defined routes around the city - but with no Google employee acting as a safety net in the driver's seat in case things go pear-shaped.

'Because we see so much potential in shared mobility, the first way people will get to experience Waymo’s fully self-driving technology will be as a driverless service,' he told the Web Summit driverless car tech expo in Lisbon.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet