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Waymo to begin charging for robotaxi rides in San Francisco

Waymo to begin charging for robotaxi rides in San Francisco

It has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission to charge customers for ride-hailing rides in its autonomous cars in San Francisco. Waymo is the self-driving subsidiary of Alphabet and has been operating in the Bay Area since 2011. According to the permit’s requirements, a human safety operator must be present at all times.

Gaining approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is one of the company’s last stages before commercializing autonomous vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area. In September, the California Department of Motor Vehicles awarded Waymo a driver deployment permit in the city, allowing the firm to be compensated for services rendered by an autonomous vehicle.

Although the authorization would not enable Waymo to charge for robotaxi services expressly, the business could still generate income via autonomous delivery services. Waymo announced a partnership with grocery chain Albertsons in November to deliver groceries to a restricted number of consumers in San Francisco.

The Waymo Trusted Tester program, which comprises a verified group of people that assist the firm in learning about its service by providing specific feedback on their riding experience, has been in operation since August of last year in the San Francisco area. They must also sign a nondisclosure agreement to be a part of the program, which has a waiting list of tens of thousands of people, according to Waymo.

Waymo will expand the experiment in the coming weeks to provide paid trips to and from any location within the Waymo service region in San Francisco at any time of day or night.

“We are taking a step-by-step approach to bring our completely autonomous experience to the general public,” Nick Smith, a Waymo representative, told TechCrunch. “We are taking a step-by-step approach to bring our fully autonomous experience to the general public.” The method we adopted in Arizona was firmly anchored in our commitment to safety. It is the one we will follow in any locations where we conduct business in the future. We begin with an autonomous expert in the driver’s seat, running in autonomous mode, and then provide free trips to a small group of Trusted Testers before charging them for the rides. Eventually, we will switch to a rider-only style of operation (without anyone else in the car). This method allows us to acquire valuable insight into the process of our service. It has proven successful for us in Arizona, where we have completed tens of thousands of trips in the rider-only mode for thousands of passengers.”

However, the last CPUC quarterly report indicated that Waymo had around 100 cars ready for journeys by a passenger at some time during the reporting period. The business will not disclose how many of its autonomous Jaguar I-PACEs it had in its fleet.

As a driverless service, Waymo One, the company’s ride-hailing service, is now available in Phoenix, Arizona, and should provide a good idea of how much the service may cost in the future. The cost of a five-mile trip that took 14 minutes ended up being approximately $1 per minute, according to a recent CNBC story. Uber rides cost around $0.40 per minute on average.

In addition, Smith said that “pricing would be fair and competitive with comparable services in San Francisco,” but that “we do not have any details to give at this time.”

Waymo will no longer provide free trips to Trusted Testers in San Francisco after the company has completed its shift to paid rides, according to Smith.

Earlier this month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles granted Cruise a driverless deployment permit on the same day that Waymo was given a driver permit. Cruise has been providing free rides without a human safety operator to members of the general public since early February when Waymo first began offering rides. Cruise is still waiting for the CPUC to charge for such attractions. Waymo refused to comment on whether the company had applied for a driverless permit with the DMV.

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