Self-driving cars are beginning to make their appearance in certain cities after many years of design and development. There are a number of autonomous vehicle programs that are pretty far along. A prime example of one of these programs is Waymo’s self-driving ride-sharing campaign for one. These select cities will likely be the first locations where we see initial adoption of self driving cars and trucks prior to becoming a mainstream transportation option. The following article provides a good update on the four cities that are conducting pilot programs presently.
After years of development, with updates here and there from major players in the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry, we’re beginning to see some significant momentum building behind self-driving cars.
These vehicles are starting to hit the streets in limited pilot programs that test their ability to navigate real-world driving environments.
Here are the four companies and cities that are competing to implement autonomous vehicles right now:
1. Waymo in Phoenix
Waymo — the independent, automated vehicle company that began as Google’s self-driving car project — has been experimenting in Phoenix for some time now.
Back in 2016, the company began AV testing at a 60,000-square foot testing facility in the suburbs of Phoenix. Waymo has since started testing its vehicles on the streets of cities in the Phoenix metro area — including Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert.
Despite some false starts — Waymo CEO John Krafcik proclaimed, back in 2017, that fully self-driving cars were already here — the company has made significant progress towards realizing the dream of a city moved entirely by autonomous vehicles.
The company launched a semi-public ride-hailing service back in 2018 and started to ramp up its fully autonomous ride-sharing service toward the end of last year. Anyone living in the East Valley area in Phoenix can now hail and ride in a driverless robo-taxi. While the program is limited to the East Valley area in Phoenix, the company hopes to expand its services throughout the country eventually.