Waymo has been operating a taxi service using its self-driving vehicles in Arizona for the past year, and now it is launching a ride-hailing app in Apple’s App Store, suggesting it hopes to expand and reach more customers.
Waymo’s app first launched in the Google Play Store last spring, likely because the company is owned by Alphabet. Waymo has remained relatively quiet since separating from Google in 2016, and to be honest, self-driving technology itself as a whole seems to be less popular in recent years. Despite the obvious dip in hype, Waymo has been pushing forward, offering its services in suburban Pheonix.
With the availability of a Waymo mobile app, you still can't just hail a robot taxi from your iPhone or Android whenever you please. First, you need to live east of Phoenix. Waymo also tells interested customers they must join its Early Rider program as a beta tester. They need to sign nondisclosure agreements as well to get access to fully driverless rides. At that point, you'll likely be put on a waitlist.
The company says it has approximately 1,500 monthly active users in its rider programs, and it has conducted more than 100,000 rides total since it launched in Arizona. Most of those rides were paid, too. Waymo hasn't yet announced whether it will expand to other US cities, but presumably, the goal is it will one day launch for all consumers. The company is also exploring trucking and delivery services.
With Google CEO Sundar Pichai taking over Alphabet, it'll be interesting to see whether Waymo ramps up its efforts in 2020.