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Friday Jan 24 2020

Waymo adds more US cities for testing self-driving vehicles service


SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet´s self-driving vehicle unit Waymo is expanding testing to more regions of the United States to explore "new transportation solutions."

Waymo Chrysler Pacifica minivans and long-haul trucks will take to roads in the US states of Texas and New Mexico this week, building on a project going on in Arizona, according to the company.

"These are interesting and promising commercial routes, and we´ll be using our vehicles to explore how the Waymo Driver might be able to create new transportation solutions," Waymo said in a message posted Thursday on Twitter.

Born in a Google lab devoted to big-vision new technology, Waymo became a subsidiary of Alphabet in 2016.

A self-driving car service being tested by Waymo opened up to more people in the Phoenix, Arizona area in late 2018.

Those taking part in the service can use a smartphone application to summon autonomous vehicles to travel in an area about 100 square miles at its maximum, according to Waymo chief John Krafcik.

Waymo expected businesses to be interested in using the autonomous ride service to carry customers to and from shops.

Self-driving vehicle technology is likely to be used in long-haul trucking, since long portions of routes can be tedious highway stretches with fewer variables to handle than on local streets.

In late 2019 Hyundai became the latest car maker to deploy autonomous rides in the US market.

Services in various stages of deployment are in the works from General Motors´ autonomous car division Cruise and electric carmaker Tesla, as well as Waymo.