Waymo posted on their weblog as we speak that they’ll be opening a self-driving service in Los Angeles.
We’ve gotten to know many LA neighborhoods, together with Downtown and Miracle Mile, Koreatown, Santa Monica, Westwood and West Hollywood, and we’ll start driving autonomously in a number of central districts over the approaching months as we put together to serve Angelenos.
The language hedges considerably — “start driving autonomously…over the approaching months” leaves loads of ambiguity about how far alongside that is and to what extent the rides will likely be monitored by security operators, versus absolutely driverless.
The weblog publish leans in fairly closely to the continued uniqueness of Waymo’s Phoenix operation:
Waymo stays the solely firm working a completely autonomous, business ride-hailing service for passengers around the clock in Phoenix’s East Valley — no NDAs, distant operators or pre-defined pick-ups. We’re the primary and solely firm on the planet offering autonomous ride-hail journeys to and from an airport (Phoenix’s Sky Harbor), and we drive extra absolutely autonomous miles within the U.S. than some other firm.
That distinction in Phoenix is big. Permitting anybody who desires to point out up, obtain an app, and hail the service is an enormous step up from a restricted take a look at viewers.
Thus far, that progress in Phoenix doesn’t appear to have completely translated to San Francisco. In SF, Waymo nonetheless appears to be trailing behind Cruise, by way of variety of riders on the service and the way prepared the corporate is to go absolutely driverless. Though information is difficult to come back by, as each Waymo and Cruise are non-public firms operating restricted service in San Francisco.
How nicely the Phoenix operation interprets to Los Angeles stays to be seen.