Phoenix is the new testing ground for Waymo’s public debut and for now, the service will be free. Waymo, the autonomous driving service developed initially through Google, is looking to determine consumer needs and continue to perfect their autonomous vehicle technology. While Waymo may be slow to deploy its first public fleet behind its other competitors, the participants in the “early rider” program will be able to summon a self-driving minivan using their smart phone. Eventually, Waymo looks to monetize their autonomous fleet of vehicles. Participants of the early rider program have been selected based on their varying transportation needs and backgrounds.
With the autonomous vehicle market on the verge of explosion, companies like Toyota, Tesla, Uber and Waymo are all looking for the opportunity to seize as much of the market as possible, both domestically and abroad. For personal use, business use or even public ride sharing, the potential for autonomous vehicles seems endless. That is, as soon as it becomes legal across all 50 states. For now, states all have different laws governing the use of self-driving vehicles and its becoming a bigger issue every day. Even so, by the time state legislatures catch up to the technology of autonomous vehicles on the road, flying vehicles carrying cargo and possibly people may be next frontier of travel.