Waymo begins testing autonomous vehicles with riders in San Francisco

It seems Waymo is now confident enough in its suite of autonomous driving technology — including improvements to lidar, a 360° camera system, and software that can understand “the context” of what it’s seeing — to begin accelerating its development and testing procedure for new cities, starting with San Francisco. Waymo has tested riderless vehicles in the city in the past, but these will be the company’s first tests there with passengers.

Those hoping for proper Waymo One service to begin in San Francisco unfortunately still have some waiting to do. These latest tests are beginning with “limited rider testing” exclusively for Waymo employees who volunteer for the test. As these tests progress over the coming months, Waymo will share details about the challenges of driving in San Francisco and the technology it will develop and use to overcome them.