Waymo begins testing the waters for a robotaxi service in Los Angeles

Waymo announced a “tour across Los Angeles” that allows curious residents the opportunity to ride in fully autonomous vehicles as the Alphabet-owned company begins to lay the groundwork for the launch of a commercial robotaxi service.

Waymo says it will make six multi-week “tour stops” in LA neighborhoods where people can hail a self-driving car without anyone in the front seat. Interested Angelenos can snag early access tickets at several pop-up events throughout the city or sign up for a waitlist. Once they receive a ticket, riders can use Waymo’s fully driverless vehicles for free within the service area for one week during the allotted time…

This is the first time Waymo is deploying a “tour” model as a precursor to a commercial service. Waymo says it plans to “partner with local businesses and community organizers” at each stop as it seeks to make a good impression among the locals. Robotaxi companies in San Francisco have been facing pushback from city officials who oppose their expansion, citing blocked intersections and obstructed emergency vehicles.