Austin is set to become the fourth hub for Waymo’s ride-hail services, joining Metro Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles as the company continues to expand its commercial ride-hail business.
Over the past several months, Waymo’s team has conducted tests in and around downtown Austin using its fleet of all-electric Jaguar I-Pace vehicles, ensuring that the Waymo Driver becomes well-acquainted with the city’s layout. With the initial testing phase proving a success, Waymo plans to launch its first operational phase in the city in autumn 2023. The fully autonomous deployment of the vehicles will follow soon after.
Waymo aims to establish an extensive service in Austin that covers large parts of the city, day and night, with Waymo Driver poised to offer services through the city’s downtown, Barton Hills, Riverside, East Austin and Hyde Park areas.
“Austin is one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in the country, and we’ve found that the Waymo Driver is adapting to its complex cityscape incredibly quickly,” said Saswat Panigrahi, chief product officer, Waymo.
“Autonomous vehicles make transportation safer, greener and more accessible, and we can’t wait for Austinites to experience these benefits for themselves.”
Bringing Waymo One’s services to Austin marks a significant company milestone, following Steve Mahan – who is visually impaired – embarking on the world’s first ride in a fully autonomous vehicle on public roads in 2015, courtesy of Waymo’s Firefly prototype.