Waymo opens robotaxi service to all San Francisco users

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A Waymo rider-only robotaxi is seen during a test ride in San Francisco on Dec. 9, 2022.

Paresh Dave | Reuters

Waymo robotaxis are now open to all users in San Francisco, expanding the self-driving ride-hailing service, which has been available in the city to a limited number of riders.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Waymo said nearly 300,000 people have signed up for the service, called Waymo One, since the Alphabet-owned company opened its waitlist. The company began commercial passenger operations in August after a period of testing.

“We’re committed to growing our service gradually and responsibly,” Waymo said in the post. “We work closely with city and state officials, first responders, and advocates for road safety to ensure our service helps local communities gain access to reliable, safe, environmentally friendly transportation and has a positive impact on mobility.”

It is the second citywide rollout for Waymo, following Phoenix in 2020. Waymo One also operates in limited capacity in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. As of February, the company had approximately 700 vehicles in the Waymo One fleet, including about 300 cars as part of its San Francisco service.

Driverless vehicles have faced some public backlash in recent months following collisions and other accidents. In October, General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit paused all driverless operations after collisions led to investigations and a suspension of its licenses in California.

However, Waymo has experienced less controversy. The company has a large public affairs operation and communicates closely with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and local first responders.

In total, the 15-year-old project, which became Waymo in 2016, has driven about 20 million fully autonomous miles and nearly two million paid ride-hail trips, Waymo said. The company said it has logged 3.8 million rider-only miles in San Francisco as of the end of March.  

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