Waymo, which operates autonomous ride-hailing services in Phoenix and San Francisco, announced Wednesday that it is adding Los Angeles to its portfolio in the coming months.
The former self-driving car project of Google, Waymo said it will deploy a 24-hour service “in several central districts” of the city, naming in its announcement downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, Santa Monica, Westwood, West Hollywood and the portion of Wilshire Boulevard known as the Miracle Mile.
“We’re working closely with Angelenos to ensure we’re addressing the transportation needs and priorities of their communities as we bring the Waymo Driver to LA,” Waymo’s co-CEO, Tekedra Mawakana, wrote in a blog post.
Waymo Driver is the company’s autonomous driving technology that controls the vehicle from pickup to destination. It has been tested in at least 13 states, according to Waymo. In Phoenix, Waymo serves the city’s East Valley region and Sky Harbor airport, operating on both freeways and city streets.
Los Angeles will join the growing ranks of U.S. cities with autonomous vehicles in ride-hailing service, a list that includes Austin, Texas; Las Vegas and Miami, among others, where the service is provided by Waymo competitors including Argo AI, Motional and Cruise.
Some rollouts have encountered troubles: A robotaxi service operated by General Motors’ Cruise subsidiary in San Francisco has incurred several safety-related incidents since its start earlier this year that have prompted concern from city officials and transportation agencies.
Waymo noted that it has support from Mothers Against Drunk Driving in California, as well as the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. The coalition tweeted following Waymo’s announcement that “Reducing the number of drivers who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol and susceptible to distractions will make bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as other motorists, safer on the streets.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he sees the coming Waymo service as a way to relieve city traffic congestion. “By adding Waymo to our growing list of ways to get around, we’re making good on our commitment to ease congestion on our streets, clean our air, and give people a better way to get where they need to go,” he said in a statement published by Waymo.