Nine years since the Google Self-Driving Car Project began and over 10 million autonomous miles later, the company today announced the launch of Waymo One. The Alphabet division is launching the first public self-driving service in Phoenix, Arizona and fully detailing how hailing an autonomous vehicle works.
As confirmed in recent weeks, the service is launching before year’s end and will initially be available to members of Waymo’s Early Rider program. This group has been testing for over a year, and the service will “gradually roll out” to more users over time.”
We’ll first offer Waymo One to hundreds of early riders who have already been using our technology. Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public as we add vehicles and drive in more places.
Meanwhile, the name “Waymo One” is not too different from the similarly named “Google One” service, and will be competing directly with the likes of Lyft and Uber. A new app to call an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivan is not all too different from existing services.
Up to three adults and a child can ride, so there’s plenty of room to bring friends and family along to share the experience.
It features a bottom bar with three tabs. “My Ride” is the primary view that users will be interacting with and features a map that takes up most of the screen. Users confirm the “Meet here” and “Drop off here” location, with the service noting the “Best Pickup/Dropoff” in both cases. The final confirmation screen shows the travel distance and payment details. As is typical, price estimates are based on factors like time and distance.
The app will also show key details during a trip, while in-car screens on the rear of the front seats will show a map, destination, and other estimates. There are also buttons to pullover, for whatever reason, and contact support, with Waymo having a call center on hand.
There is a dedicated call button on an in-car console on the ceiling, while users can also make contact through the Waymo app. The “Support” tab features both immediate callback and texting a support agent, as well as leaving other feedback. However, at the start, Waymo-trained drivers will be “riding along to supervise our vehicles for riders’ comfort and convenience” and answer immediate questions.
The Waymo One app, with the Google Material Theme, will also ask for feedback using a five-star system and has the ability to leave other comments. Waymo One will work 24/7 and is available in the Metro Phoenix area, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilber.