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Waymo Filings Give New Details on Its Driverless Taxis

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Waymo CEO John Krafcik announced last week that the company would be launching a driverless taxi service in Phoenix later this year. An application Waymo filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for driverless testing, obtained by IEEE Spectrum using public record laws, reveals more about how that service might work.

Waymo is already operating a fully driverless pilot test in Arizona, where companies do not have to seek permission for self-driving cars, with or without human safety operators, or report on their progress. It’s a different matter in California, where many self-driving companies are based. In April, the state’s DMV started accepting applications for fully driverless testing. So far, the DMV has received two applications—one from Waymo, an Alphabet company, and the other from U.S./China startup JingChi.ai.

Waymo’s application seeks permission for 52 fully driverless vehicles, 27 registered in California and 25 with Arizona plates. All are Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, similar to those currently deployed in Arizona. Waymo intends to test its vehicles in an intensively mapped geofenced area of about 50 square miles near its Mountain View offices. Passengers cannot select a destination outside that area, and Waymo’s software will not create a route that travels outside the geo-zone.

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