Waymo suspends unmanned taxi service with reserved driver, "pure driverless car" still picking up passengers

Recently, the new crown virus epidemic situation has expanded in the United States, and has also had an increasing impact on the US technology industry. According to the latest news from foreign media, Google Brothers and Waymo, a global leader in self-driving cars, said on Tuesday that unmanned taxi services with backup drivers will be suspended, but pure unmanned services without backup drivers will continue to operate .


According to foreign media reports, Waymo’s unmanned taxi service is also known as “Waymo One”. This service is currently operating mainly in the Phoenix area of Arizona, USA, and has been in operation for more than a year. Due to the spread of the new crown virus epidemic, the company had to take suspension measures to protect the health and safety of its backup drivers.

In addition, the company has suspended self-driving car testing on public roads in California.

An announcement on the company’s website on Tuesday stated that the company will continue to operate truly driverless cars that do not require human involvement in driving. These unmanned taxis are also in the Phoenix area as part of Waymo’s early service plan, which allows a select group of consumers to ride.

Of all the self-driving taxis of Waymo, the number of taxis without a backup driver at all is unknown.

Waymo’s unmanned taxi service mainly uses Chrysler’s Pacifica seven-seater vehicle to pick up and drop off Phoenix residents. The area served by the taxi (with digital geofencing technology) covers several suburbs, including Chandler and Tanzania wear. Before last fall, all of these taxis had a backup driver to prevent emergency control of the taxi in the event of an accident.

In October last year, Waymo began rolling out taxis without a backup driver.

Waymo said it has stepped up its efforts to clean driverless cars in the face of the new crown epidemic. These vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected several times a day. The company says it has also added disinfection products to each taxi for passengers.

In addition, the company has purchased tens of thousands of new cars, will install an autonomous driving system at a factory in Detroit, and then enrich the unmanned taxi fleet. In addition to Chrysler’s models, it also includes Jaguar Land Rover’s SUV models, which will serve as high-end premium taxi services.

The following is a statement issued by Waymo:

For the health and safety of our passengers and the entire Waymo community, we have suspended our Waymo One service with backup drivers, and we continue to focus on the development of the new crown virus. Following local guidelines, we have also suspended driving test activities in California.

Our fully driverless taxi in Phoenix will continue in our early passenger program, as will our local delivery and trucking efforts.

We can provide driverless, delivery and trucking services to our passengers and partners, while respecting important social distances and hygiene guidelines shared by the CDC and local authorities. Removing backup drivers not only makes our roads safer, it also helps our users stay healthy during this uncertain period.

We will continue to closely monitor the development of New Crown Virus and we will contact our passengers if there are any further service changes. Until then, our passenger support team will always answer any questions.

According to foreign media reports, Waymo’s move follows the federal government’s guidance to take special measures to slow the spread of the new crown virus. Earlier, at least one backup driver on a Waymo taxi refused to pick up passengers in the Intel office area in Chandler, Arizona, because they heard that someone had been infected with the new crown virus.

Waymo’s partnership with U.S. courier giant United Parcel Service will continue, which will involve delivery services and autonomous truck testing outside California.