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Waymo’s Self-Driving Minivans Start Offering Rides to the Public

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Back in November, Waymo unleashed a fully autonomous minivan to the world. Now, a few months later, these vehicles have progressed to the point where the company has started sharing its minivans with the general public.

Volunteer passengers in the Phoenix area recently took test rides in Waymo’s self-driving minivans. Judging form the overall reactions in the videos, most passengers demonstrated at least moderate excitement during the experience. One passenger appears to be taking a nap. Another plays on their phone, since that might soon be the new safe thing to do in a car if the fully autonomous vehicle trend continues to progress.

During the journey, passengers can view what the car’s sensors detect up ahead, via the vehicle’s touchscreen system. That’s also how riders start the ride, since there’s no human driver behind the wheel to perform that function.

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Some riders appeared relaxed and sleepy, while others appeared more apprehensive and pensive.
Photo: Waymo

If things go well, Waymo hopes to expand the public ride tests beyond Phoenix. Judging from the overall positive responses of the early riders featured in the video clip, it’s a good indication that future test excursions will go well. And, considering the context of U.S. drivers showing an increasingly welcoming attitude about self-driving cars, the rest of 2018 should continue to follow this trend.

Two young riders taking a selfie to commemorate the exciting occasion.
Photo: Waymo

If you live in the Phoenix area and wish to participate in these early rides, check out Waymo’s website here to apply online. It’s an exciting opportunity to help promote automated vehicle technology while satisfying a craving for roadside adventure.

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News Source: CNET