>> Google's self driving car unit threw down the gauntlet on Tuesday saying it would be the first to offer a ride hailing service to the general public without a driver behind the wheel. I'm Router's correspondent Alexandria Sage in San Francisco. In the beginning, a user will be sitting in a back state with a Waymo employee.
But eventually that employee will leave the car and it will just be the member of the general public in the back seat in this self driving car. The project will start in the Phoenix area and eventually grow throughout the United States. Plenty of companies have been developing self driving car technology, from big auto makers like General Motors to tech companies like Apple.
Waymo has long stated that it believes in full autonomy for self driving cars. It does not believe that a person should share the wheel with the car. That leads to complications. It leads to drivers trusting the technology too much, they said. Waymo has partnered with Fiat Chrysler for over a year and is using Fiat Chrysler's Pacifica minivans for this project.
These are minivans with sliding doors, so easier access for people to get in and out of the car. You might say, a car without a driver? How is that legal? Well it is legal. In Arizona, there are no restrictions whatsoever on self driving cars. On the federal level, Google has had to submit a safety assessment to the government, which it has done so.
Google says the general public will begin using these cars within the next few months.