If you were hoping to hail a self-driving car from Waymo, you better live in the Phoenix area — and be prepared to wait even after downloading the app.
The Waymo app is now available on the Google Play app store for the first time, but it’s not like Uber or Lyft, mostly because once you download it you have to join a waitlist. Only after you’ve been accepted can you start ordering rides. The pricing for rides in the Phoenix area is apparently similar to rides on other ride-sharing services.
Waymo One, which is run by Google, has only been available for the past few months to about 400 “Early Riders,” or approved service users who give feedback about the rides. With the app now available, it looks like more people will be able to experience the robo-rides, although it’s not on Apple’s App Store yet. (Waymo said it’s working on an iOS app, but it hasn’t determined a release date.)
Waymo didn’t say how people on the waitlist would be approved.
We took a look at the app on an Android device and applied for the waitlist — but since we’re located in California, it doesn’t seem likely we’ll get approved. An email confirming we made it on the waitlist explained, “To make sure everyone gets the best possible experience, we will roll out access gradually.”
Waymo launched its ride-share service back in December, but has yet to make it fully public or expand beyond the Phoenix area where its modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans have been testing for the past few years. The cars include safety operators in the front seats, so they’re not fully autonomous yet.