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Waymo offers driverless services to its Austin staff.

Waymo offers driverless services to its Austin staff.

Waymo, which is Alphabet’s subsidiary for autonomous driving, has announced that it is providing driverless passenger services to its employees. This service was announced on Tuesday, February 5th, and will be available to employees in Austin, Texas, starting from Wednesday, February 6th.

The service coverage area spans 43 square miles within Austin, covering key areas such as downtown Austin, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin, and Hyde Park. Waymo plans to extend the Waymo One ride-hailing program to the general public in Austin at a later date. Waymo One, which was launched in 2018, allows users to hail self-driving taxis in certain areas.

With the addition of Austin, this expansion brings Waymo One to four cities, joining San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles.

Waymo’s strategic move comes as its primary competitor, Cruise, a General Motors-owned company, has temporarily halted its US operations following a pedestrian-dragging incident.

Approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has enabled Waymo to launch fully driverless robo-taxi services in Los Angeles and several neighboring cities near San Francisco.

Waymo has been a pioneer in the development of autonomous driving technology, utilizing a combination of advanced sensors, machine learning algorithms, and extensive real-world testing to achieve a high level of autonomy.