Waymo is seeking members of the public to ride in its self-driving cars

Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving car project, is expanding its self-driving car fleet and looking for volunteers to take part in its ‘early rider program’ in Phoenix, Arizona.

Following initial trials with a few Phoenix residents, the company is seeking ‘hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs’ to ride in and give feedback about its self-driving cars.

Participants will have access to Waymo’s fleet at any time, and will be able to travel anywhere within an area roughly twice the size of San Francisco.

“We want as many people as possible to experience our technology, and we want to bring self-driving cars to more communities sooner,” said Waymo CEO John Krafcik in a blog post announcing the recruitment drive.

The programme will allow Waymo to understand more about where people want to travel in its self-driving cars, how they communicate with the vehicles and what information and controls they would like to see inside the cars.

“Our early riders will play an important role in shaping the way we bring self-driving technology into the world — through personal cars, public transportation, ride-hailing, logistics and more,” said Krafcik. 

“Self-driving cars have the potential to reshape each and every one of these areas, transforming our lives and our cities by making them safer, more convenient and more accessible.”

In addition to its early rider programme, Waymo is adding another 500 self-driving Chrysler minivans to its driverless fleet.