Waymo, Uber, GM’s Cruise, Aurora, Argo AI, and Pony.ai are among the companies that have suspended driverless vehicle programs in the hopes of limiting contact between drivers and riders. It’s a direct response to the ongoing health crisis caused by COVID-19, which has sickened over 250,000 and killed more than 10,000 people around the world.
Waymo announced that it would pause its Waymo One ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona and autonomous car testing on public California roads. Initially, the Alphabet subsidiary pledged to limit Waymo One rides to its fully driverless cars, which don’t require human operators behind the wheel. But on Thursday, Waymo said it would suspend all service until April 7 in the “interests of the health and safety of … riders, trained drivers, and [the] entire [Waymo] team.”