Waymo Launches Driverless Cars in Austin

Testing began March 6 with Waymo employees before the service will open to the public.


Waymo initiated testing of its fully driverless cars March 6 in various Austin, TX, locales, reported KXAN News.

The company's Chief Product Officer Saswat Panigrahi shared on social media the initiative spans 43 square miles, including downtown, Barton Hills, Riverside, east Austin, Hyde Park and more. Before opening the service to the public through Waymo One, the company plans to offer rides to its employees.

Austin isn't new to Waymo's innovations. In 2015, the first public member rode in a Waymo autonomous car in the city.

Besides Austin, Waymo has autonomous vehicles operational in San Francisco and Phoenix, with ongoing tests in Los Angeles County.

Statistically, Waymo's technology demonstrates significant safety improvements over human driving. The company reported "85% fewer crashes that led to injuries and 57% fewer crashes reported to police" compared to human drivers over 7.1 million miles of autonomous driving.

“It’s not that these companies are just starting from scratch,” University of Texas at Austin professor Peter Stone told KXAN News. “This is the culmination of decades of research and development really.”

Waymo's engagement in Austin continues with its participation in SXSW, where co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana and Head of User Experience Lauren Schwendimann will discuss the future of autonomous ride-hailing and the benefits of such technology for the accessibility community.

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