Alphabet’s Waymo is starting to commercialize self-driving car rides in Arizona by offering an Uber-like service that works over a mobile app.
On Wednesday, the company launched Waymo One, which will first be available to select riders in the Phoenix metro area before a potential wider rollout across the community. Consumers will download an app that functions like Uber or Lyft; confirm your pickup location, input where you want to go, and finally receive a price estimate before you formally request the ride.
If you have a question during the trip, open the app to connect with a Waymo support agent. The self-driving vehicle also comes with in-car consoles that connect with rider support.
“These channels will become even more important as we transition to fully driverless rides,” Waymo said. At the end of the ride, Waymo’s app will also ask you to rate how well the trip went, on a scale of one to five stars. Self-driving rides through Waymo One will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For now, only “hundreds of early riders” already enrolled in the company’s public test program in Arizona will have access to Waymo One. At first, each self-driving vehicle will also come with a company-trained human driver to ensure the rides go smoothly.
“Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public as we add vehicles and drive in more places,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik wrote in a separate blog post.
Since April 2017, Waymo—a Google spin-off—has been inviting local residents in Arizona to test ride its self-driving cars as part of a public trial. Last November, the company was confident enough to begin phasing out the human test drivers in some of its autonomous vehicles. But according to The Information, safety concerns prompted Waymo to return “safety drivers” to its “most advanced prototypes.”
“Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind,” Krafcik said today.
Uber, meanwhile, has had a rough year in Arizona. In March, Gov. Doug Ducey put the kibosh on Uber autonomous vehicle testing in the state following a March 18 fatal crash in Tempe. Uber then suspended self-driving taxi tests, but will reportedly start them again soon, first in Pittsburgh.
Lyft, which secured a $1 billion investment from Alphabet’s investment arm last year, currently offers self-driving rides in Las Vegas.