Waymo Joins Apple App Store
Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit has made its ride-hailing app for robotic taxis available for download via Apple Inc.’s App Store.
Waymo autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. Source: Waymo.
The app has been offered on the Google Play Store since April. Waymo was created out of Google’s self-driving car project three years ago.
The Apple offering promises to pave the way for Waymo to expand its ride-hailing service—currently available only on a limited basis in metropolitan Phoenix—to a broader group and geographic area. Waymo has completed more than 100,000 rides, mostly in specially equipped versions of the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, since launching a pilot program in 2017.
The company says the number of weekly rides it performs has tripled since January. This includes trips with and without onboard backup drivers. The driverless pilot program was launched a year ago.
Initially, the App on the Apple Store will direct interested customers to Waymo’s Early Rider program of beta testers. Participants must sign nondisclosure agreements in order to access the self-driving vehicles.
Waymo has tested the automated Pacificas in more than two dozen cities in Arizona, California, Michigan, Texas and Washington. But there are no immediate plans to expand the robo-taxi service beyond Arizona.
When you think of complex, highly technical devices that you use every day in your car—in fact, possibly as much as three to 10 times per minute—you probably don’t think of your rearview mirror.
Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand plans to launch its own car-sharing service next year and is developing an integrated software control program to help coordinate vehicle sensors and autonomous driving technologies.
While we are probably not at the edge of the Apocalypse, the joint announcement coming from BMW Group and Daimler AG today is something that most people probably didn’t expect and might have seemed Apocalyptic not all that long ago.