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Waymo robotaxis now completing 50,000 paid trips a week

Waymo robotaxis are now completing more than 50,000 paid trips a week in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, according to a post on social media by the Alphabet-owned company.

The company has for several years had permission to operate its robotaxis without anyone behind the steering wheel, paving the way for paying passengers to enjoy their ride with no one else inside the autonomous car.

‘We see people from all walks of life use our service to travel carefree, gain independence, reclaim their commute and more,” Waymo said in its social media post. “Fully autonomous ride-hailing is a reality and a preferred mobility option for people navigating their cities every day.”

Our safe and deliberate approach to scaling the Waymo Driver is gaining traction, as we’re now serving more than 50,000 paid trips every week across three major cities. Thank you to our riders for trusting us to get you to your destinations safely and reliably.

— Waymo (@Waymo) May 9, 2024

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Waymo. Over the years, its vehicles have proved controversial for their threat to the human-powered taxi industry, while the technology has sometimes led to some disruptive and downright dangerous situations on public roads.

Just last month, there were reports of an autonomous Waymo vehicle driving along the wrong side of the street after coming across a group of unicyclists. However, Waymo claimed that the vehicle was in fact in control and merely performing a passing maneuver.

In another incident last month, a number of Waymo robotaxis reportedly blocked access to a freeway on-ramp. Waymo was forced to send out its Roadside Assistance team to manually retrieve the vehicles in an incident that the company said lasted no more than 30 minutes.

Waymo’s main rival in the autonomous-car sector — General Motors-backed Cruise — has faced even more difficulties over the last year, with a string of troubling incidents forcing the company to suspend its self-driving activities on public roads until further notice. Layoffs at the company followed soon after.

Waymo said in its social media post that data gathered by its self-driving cars “shows our vehicles are improving road safety for all road users — cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers.”

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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