Are you ready to ride in a car without a driver? Waymo vans going public in the East Valley

Waymo will allow the general public to download an app and catch a ride in a fully autonomous van — with nobody behind the wheel — in the weeks ahead.

It will be the first time average Janes and Joes can order a ride in the conspicuous Pacifica minivans that buzz around public roads in Chandler and other East Valley cities the way they might use a service like Lyft or Uber.

The launch of this new phase of Waymo’s car service, which begins with a smaller step on Thursday, marks a significant milestone in the company’s march toward offering a fully autonomous ride service.

Waymo, like Google, is a division of California-based Alphabet Inc. The company brought autonomous vehicles to Chandler in 2016 and has incrementally expanded both the area where the cars operate and who is allowed to ride in them.