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There are about to be a lot more Waymo driverless rides taking place in Phoenix.
Waymo has been testing its autonomous-vehicle technology in and around Arizona's capital since 2017, slowly expanding the capabilities of the driverless cars over time. Today, Oct. 8, the Alphabet company announced that anyone will be able to able to hail one of its vehicles in the areas Waymo currently serves. The plan right now, given the pandemic, is to actually start with fully driverless vehicles, and then as Waymo is able to retrofit its vehicles with safety dividers between the front and rear seats, it'll bring human drivers back into the mix. This will allow the vehicles to cover a larger swath of Phoenix, where the cars might not be as confident to drive 100% on their own.
No word on when services like this will be coming to other municipalities, or whether you're going to have to be stuck in the least-cool, most-futuristic car on the road, Waymo's modified minivans.
Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.