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Waymo, the autonomous car unit of Google-parent Alphabet, opened its robo-taxi project to the general public in the US city of Phoenix on Thursday, becoming the first widely available driverless ride service.

Now that the project has shifted out of its test phase, anyone signed up through the Waymo One smartphone app can summon autonomous vehicles to travel throughout the Arizona city’s metro area, chief executive John Krafcik said.

“Members of the public service can now take friends and family along on their rides and share their experience with the world,” he added.

“We’ll start with those who are already a part of Waymo One and, over the next several weeks, welcome more people directly into the service through our app.”

The Waymo One app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Waymo started testing a fully driverless ride service in Phoenix some three years ago with

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The company shut down its service earlier this year because of the pandemic. But “we expect to reach and exceed that volume as we ramp back up,” Barna said.

Previously, driverless trips were offered only to an exclusive group of early adopters. But in “the near term, 100% of our rides will be fully driverless,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik wrote in a blog post announcing the move.

Waymo said driverless service would initially be offered to existing users of its Waymo One ride-hailing app, but the service would be expanded to the broader public “over the next several weeks.”

Companies across Silicon Valley are racing to make self-driving cars a reality, a technological moonshot that would make the economics of ride-hailing much more lucrative by sparing the expense of human drivers. So far, progress has been slow as companies have delayed their rollouts and extended their timelines, confronted by the

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  • Waymo is now offering a fully-driverless ride-hailing service in the Phoenix area, where the Alphabet company has been piloting its business since 2018.
  • The fully-driverless option will apply to a 50-square-mile area at first, and early users will be customers who have been testing the service.
  • Waymo also said that it would be resuming rides with a human safety driver, after pausing the service when he coronavirus pandemic struck earlier this year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Waymo is launching a fully driverless option for its ride-hail service in Phoenix, the Alphabet subsidiary that started life as Google’s self-driving car project announced on Thursday, a milestone in the company’s decade-long journey to wrest control of the car away from humans. 

As of now, riders who order a car through the Waymo One ride-hail service can get a vehicle without a human safety driver behind the wheel, ready to

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  • Business Insider asked seven venture capitalists to choose the two self-driving startups they believe have the most potential.
  • At least one of the VC’s picks had to come from outside their firm’s portfolio.
  • Many of their choices reflected the autonomy industry’s increasing focus on trucking and deliveries over ride-hail.
  • Aurora Innovation was picked four times, more than any other company.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Self-driving taxis have taken longer to reach widespread adoption than experts predicted during the 2010s. That may be why venture capitalists see potential in autonomous-vehicle startups that are focused on applications, like trucking and mining, that present fewer technological challenges than ride-hailing.

Business Insider asked seven venture capitalists to pick the two autonomous-vehicle startups they believe have the most promise, with the caveat that only one could be a company their firm has invested in. Their selections reflected the industry’s increasing focus on

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