Waymo, a unit of Alphabet Inc. is the first commercial company in the US to get a permit to operate as a driverless ride company. The self-driving car division got the approval in late January 2018 from the Arizona Department of Transportation. It plans to start its operations in the same state of Arizona.
A state agency spokesperson Ryan Harding said that the permit issued to Waymo makes the company officially a Transportation Networking Company. Harding added that the Chrysler Pacifica minivans could only pick and drop off clients who have paid via the app downloaded on their smartphone or the company’s website.
Currently, Uber Inc. and Lyft Inc. technologies are the only approved transportation network companies in the Arizona states. But Waymo is the leading in the field of driver-less; hence General Motors Company and Uber are in the race towards the same.
In an email to one of the reporters in Arizona, Waymo’s spokesperson said that the company is doing all it can to launch the commercial service this year. For now, the Waymo is test-driving its self-driven minivans within and around Phoenix.
The company has bought thousands of Chrysler Pacifica vans and fitted them with the self-governing car technology. Currently, the company is testing several robot-manned vehicles in about five states in the United States. A confirmation report from Alphabet says that the transportation networking company approval is a step closer to initiating the services in the market.
How Much Will Waymo Charge Its Riders?
Waymo has not announced the rates it will charge its riders yet. However, some assumption reports show that since the cars will not have drivers, the prices may be competitive with Lyft and Uber’s.
Last year, the company started off an early ride program. The free program saw hundreds of Arizona capital residents’ use the Waymo app. but, riders could only use a car within a radius of 100 miles.