Waymo’s self-driving car service coming in Phoenix later this year

Google’s AI researchers are helping Waymo drive self-driving cars.

By Emil Protalinski | VentureBeat

In a huge surprise, Google invited Waymo CEO John Krafcik on stage at its I/O 2018 developers conference. Waymo has not been part of Google since December 2016 — it’s an Alphabet company. Google presumably made an exception because Krafcik had big news to share: Waymo’s self-driving car service is launching in Phoenix, Arizona “later this year.”

Waymo already has self-driving cars in Phoenix, but launching a service means anyone in the city will be able to download the Waymo app and hail an autonomous vehicle. Waymo won’t be requiring someone to sit in the driver’s seat, either.

“We’re not just building a better car,” Krafcik said onstage. “We’re building a better driver.”

The theme here was clear: Google may be obsessed with AI, but Waymo depends on it for absolutely everything. In other words, AI advances in image search and speech recognition are cute, but Google’s AI researchers are helping Waymo drive self-driving cars.

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