Waymo Launches ‘Trusted Tester’ Program for Autonomous Rides in San Francisco

Following hints at Waymo’s self-driving future plans throughout this year, the company has announced it will now invite live civilians to try out its self-driving features in one major U.S. city.

Waymo has announced plans to recruit San Francisco residents to test out autonomous rides in its electric Jaguar I-PACE self-driving vehicles, according to a press release from the company. The news was shared alongside a new teaser video from the company, which depicts a number of residents taking their first drives in the Jaguar I-PACE.

Trusted Testers will be able to call autonomous rides using the Waymo One app, within Waymo’s initial San Francisco service area. The drives began last week and they feature one live autonomous specialist on board – to collect feedback and, perhaps, to help put user concerns at ease.

Earlier this year, former Waymo CEO said building autonomous cars was “harder than rocket science,” before stepping down and becoming an adviser instead, just a few months later.

A video released earlier this year also depicts Waymo next to Tesla’s Autopilot in a standard grocery store run. Despite other statements in Elon Musk’s direction from the former Waymo CEO saying that “Tesla is no competitor at all,” it’s hard to deny the power of Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems.