It's a major step forward for the autonomous vehicle.
Waymo, the self-driving car unit that was recently spun off from Google, says it will soon begin offering driverless taxi rides to the general public.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced on Tuesday that the company will begin offering driverless rides to residents of Chandler, Arizona within the next few months. Arizona recently put into place a new law that allows autonomous vehicles to operate without a driver behind the wheel.
Waymo has been operating autonomous vehicles around Chandler for the last eight months, but with a test driver behind the wheel. An exact date was not mentioned, but Waymo will soon remove the driver from the equation. The autonomous vehicles will operate within a 600 square mile area near Phoenix.
"Since the beginning of this year, our early riders have been using our fleet -- with a test driver at the wheel -- to go to work, school, soccer practice and more," Krafcik said, according to Automotive News. "Soon, they'll be able to make these trips in a fully self-driving car, with Waymo as their chauffeur."
Rides will be given in Waymo's fleet of autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans. The company currently operates about 100 self-driving minivans, with plans for 500 more.
Although Waymo's initial driverless taxi service will be limited to just one market, it might not be long before we see the service expanded to other regions of the country.