I’m sure the introverts of the world would love driverless taxis. No eye contact, no weird music, no awkward small talk – it’d be perfect. And as it turns out, that might actually be what the future of taxis has in store for us. 

We’ve talked a lot about the future of driverless cars, but not much about driverless taxis. Of course, the technology as a whole has a few more milestones to reach before it could ever be rolled out expansively, but in Phoenix, Arizona, certain people are already getting a taste of what a future with driverless taxis may be like. 

Waymo, (formerly the Google self-driving car project), has been experimenting with new innovations in mobility, and have now opened up driverless taxis to registered Phoenix residents. Until recently, the service called Waymo One was only open to a small number of residents, who were barred from actually talking about their driverless taxi experience in public. 

But now, registration to join the Waymo One list is expanding in a staggered plan to allow more Phoenix residents to enjoy the benefits of riding in an autonomous vehicle. Plus, now registered drivers can now bring their family and friends along for the ride (and talk about their experience publicly). 

If you live in Phoenix and are excited to hop into a Waymo One taxi, don’t get too excited yet. New members will likely have to wait awhile before they’re able to use the service. As Waymo CEO John Krafcik noted, there’s already a backlog of registered riders who have not had the chance to ride in their signature taxis – and they’ll get first dibs on the current fleet of 300 driverless Chrysler Pacificas. 

As far as keeping everything clean in between drives, the taxis will be subject to what the company is calling a “cabin-air flush”. According to the company, this process will be able to get rid of 99% of germs and other air-borne contaminants that may have been introduced by previous riders. 

Interested in joining the waiting list? Learn more and sign up here to join the other Phoenix residents waiting for their turn in the driverless cabs of the future. 

Want more news on driverless cars? Check out the Headlights blog for that and more!

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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    7 Comments

    1. Supposedly, Tesla is rolling out full autopilot as a beta by the end of the year. The future is starting to look really cool!

    2. Great Article !

    3. I am not one of those people that doesn’t like AI or automated tech, but I think a lot about the discussion on wether an AI could make a life or death choice. In my opinion if they give the AI enough tools for decision making then it may be better at making decisions than a human would. It takes hesitation out of the equation. On the other hand, if not programmed correctly the vehicle could make a decision about your or someone else’s life that you may not agree with.

    4. I honestly like the interaction with other people. You get to learn different points of view/believes/ rights/culture ect. I understand there are time when you dont want to be talk to and in my opinion we are adult enough to tell someone else “I dont want to talk at the moment” or” can you please turn off the radio” or there is such things as headphones. But I guess we should also have driverless taxis for people that really hate interaction.

    5. What concerns me is the autopilot vehicle, software, and manufacturer’s legal liability. Just recently an automated Tesla hit a parked police car with emergency lights flashing.

    6. Pretty cool, but I don’t think I am ready to go driverless.

    7. This is great honestly. The most awkward part about Taxis or any rideshare is being in the car with a stranger and someone feeling the need to talk and engage. Getting rid of that awkwardness and just getting where you need to go without having to drive sounds like a dream! I can’t believe innovation and technology like this are happening during my lifetime.

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