Waymo’s Robotaxi To Enter the Los Angeles Market

If you find yourself in Hollywood and witness a car cruising without a driver, there’s no need to panic. Following over a year of testing, approximately 50 driverless robotaxis are making their public debut in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Operated by Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, these autonomous vehicles began offering driverless rides to passengers in San Francisco last year and are also active in Phoenix.

Initially, these rides will be complimentary for individuals who have signed up on Waymo’s waitlist, which currently boasts 50,000 people. In the upcoming weeks, Waymo intends to transition to a paid service. The company’s service area covers 63 square miles of Los Angeles, spanning from Santa Monica to downtown.

The Southern California launch arrives amid controversies and mishaps affecting self-driving cars in San Francisco. Both Waymo and its competitor Cruise, a subsidiary of GM, have faced criticism for running red lights, obstructing public buses, and impeding emergency responders.

Cruise was involved in an incident in October resulting in severe pedestrian injuries, leading to the suspension of operations and the loss of its operating permit in the state.

In Los Angeles, Waymo has encountered challenges ahead of its debut. Complaints from Mayor Karen Bass and protests from local residents have emerged. In October, the Teamsters union staged a protest outside Google’s local office.

Union and labor leaders express concerns that robotaxis will lead to job losses and pose risks to workers driving emergency vehicles.

Yvonne Wheeler, president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, remarked during the protest, “Autonomous vehicles, like the ones Waymo aims to introduce in our communities, have caused chaos wherever they’ve gone. It’s evident that this technology isn’t ready for implementation on our roads and in our cities.”

Both Cruise and Waymo argue that their vehicles are safer than human drivers and have experienced relatively few incidents. They claim to have logged millions of driverless miles without any human fatalities.

Josh Alba
Josh Alba
Josh Alba stands at the forefront of contemporary business journalism, his words weaving narratives that illuminate the intricate workings of the corporate world. With a keen eye for detail and a penchant for uncovering the underlying stories behind financial trends, Josh has established himself as a trusted authority in business writing. Drawing from his wealth of experience and relentless pursuit of truth, Josh delivers insights that resonate with readers across industries.
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