Home » Waymo planning expansion of autonomous taxis to L.A. 

Waymo planning expansion of autonomous taxis to L.A. 

by NBC News

Tech startup Waymo is seeking regulatory approval for a major expansion of autonomous taxis in California, a development that would bring driverless cars to potentially millions more people and create new competition for human-driven car services like Lyft and Uber in the nation’s second-largest city. 

Waymo, which spun off from Google in 2016, already offers for-hire self-driving car services in San Francisco and Phoenix and has said it will launch soon in Austin. The service allows members of the public to call a ride from an app — similar to Uber or Lyft, but without a human driver. The company says it serves tens of thousands of rides per week in San Francisco and Phoenix. 

Waymo said in a letter last week to the California Public Utilities Commission that it wants to offer its for-hire car service in two new areas: parts of Los Angeles and nearby cities such as Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and the suburban cities and towns directly south of San Francisco such as Palo Alto and Sunnyvale. The proposed service areas include San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport

“Angelenos, join us for a ride,” Waymo said in a post late Friday on X. 

Waymo has already provided trial driverless rides in those areas, but not to the public as a paid service. Waymo said it has more than 50,000 people on its Los Angeles waitlist for free “on tour” rides. 

“This is the next step in the rigorous regulatory process required to grow and commercialize our fully autonomous ride-hailing service in California,” Waymo said in a statement Tuesday. 

“Thousands of Angelenos have already had a chance to ride with Waymo as part of our Waymo One Tour, and we’re excited to bring autonomous driving to more people,” the company said. 

In San Francisco and elsewhere, the Waymo service has sparked debate over safety on the streets. Waymo says no one has died from a collision involving its vehicles, a record that it says is in stark contrast to…

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