The driverless taxi race is on.
On Dec. 5, Waymo, the driverless car company spun out of Alphabet neé Google, unveiled a commercial ride-hail service, Waymo One, in the greater metro area of Phoenix, Arizona. While it’s far from a robotaxi takeover, hundreds of pre-approved riders in greater Phoenix can now book and pay for a ride in a driverless taxi using Waymo’s technology.
Waymo One is in every way a competitor to Uber. Customers request rides and confirm their location through an app. Waymo decides the best route and drop-off spot, which may require the passenger to walk a few minutes to their final destination, similar to a discount service Uber offers. Waymo even provides a price quote at the time of booking, employing the “upfront pricing” method that Uber introduced in 2016 as an alternative to the traditional taxi meter.