Google’s autonomous car company, #Waymo, is ready to take residents from Phoenix as passengers. The company started taking applications on #Tuesday.

The people who will be lucky enough to be chosen will get to ride and test out a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid minivans equipped with Waymo’s autonomous car sensors.

Car manufacturer giants such as General Motors, Ford, Toyota, BMW, Nissan, and Volvo all stated that they plan to develop their own autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing programs by 2020. By licensing Waymo’s software as well as their hardware to such car manufacturers, it would be able to recover its multi-year investment in the science.

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On the other hand, these car manufacturers that plan to start their own ride-hailing programs will be able to eliminate the most expensive part of the business, which is the driver.

The expanded program will use a total of 600 autonomous Pacificas.

Driverless vehicles?

Initially, the said autonomous vehicles would have Waymo employees at the wheel. However, they will not be driving; instead, the employees will help gather information on the way passengers use their rides. Under Arizona law, it is allowed for self-driving vehicles to be tested without a human driver at the wheel.

Participants of the program are encouraged to rely on the self-driving cars for their transportation needs, such as daily commutes to work or weekend leisure events.

Google’s partnership with Chrysler

Last year, Chrysler provided 100 Pacificas to Google as part of their partnership.

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The company will deliver an additional 500 units of the said minivan, which will begin production next month. The additional Pacificas will then be outfitted with Waymo’s car sensors.

Waymo’s bumps on the road

The self-driving company experienced a few bumps on the road. The leader of the program, Chris Urmson, left the company last summer and had started his own self-driving company.

Several months ago, Google filed a legal complaint against Uber, the ride-hailing giant. Uber was accused of using a technology that was allegedly stolen from Google, which was a critical light detection and ranging device that helps autonomous vehicles to see their exact location. LiDAR was reportedly stolen from Google while Anthony Levandowski, founder of Uber’s own Otto, was still working there.

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